5 Important Questions To Ask Your Child’s Dentist

All about your child's first dental visit

5 Questions To Ask at or Before Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

Your child’s first dental visit is an important milestone, just like their first step or their first day at school. And it’s every parent’s responsibility to use that first dental appointment (and every visit after) to understand their child’s oral health and make sure good oral habits start early. Here are answers to some important questions parents need to ask their pediatric dentists.

1. When should I take my child to their first dental visit?

Your child should visit the dentist either before their first birthday or as soon as the first tooth comes in—whichever one happens first. If you suspect a problem or notice white spots or other lesions, it’s alright to book an appointment sooner. In children’s dentistry, when it comes to protecting baby teeth, prevention is the name of the game. The earlier we catch any issues, the easier they are to treat and the sooner we get your baby’s oral health back on track.

2. Why start taking my child to the dentist so young?

Most parents are surprised to learn that one of the most common chronic diseases in children is tooth decay. For an entirely preventable illness, statistics show that 28% of children ages 2 to 5 suffer from tooth decay. And when left untreated, that decay turns into more serious problems that require extensive (and expensive) treatment. This is why the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) guidelines recommend that children see the dentist by their first birthday or as soon as the first tooth pops up. And since milk teeth can begin emerging as early as 6 months old, parents should book their child’s first dental appointment not long after.

3. What happens during the first dental visit?

At your child’s dental visit at Pediatric Dental Specialists, you first fill out paperwork about your child’s medical and dental history. We then give you a tour of our office and let you and your child meet your dentist. Afterward, we examine your child’s teeth and do a gentle cleaning. Our team of trained dental professionals ensures your little one is as comfortable as possible during the exam.

4. How can I prepare my child for their first dental appointment?

Parents play a vital role in ensuring their child’s first dental appointment is a positive and enjoyable experience. This all starts with using child-friendly terms like “getting the sugar bugs out” or “seeing Tooth Fairy’s friend.” You may also want to add “Daniel Goes to the Dentist” to your bedtime stories or watch lovable, 4-year-old Calliou’s trip to the dentist. All these can help normalize dental checkups while nurturing a positive attitude about oral care for years to come.

5. What should I do when my kids have dental emergencies?

Dental emergencies can happen at any time, and while minor toothaches can wait a day or two before seeing a dentist, some oral injuries cause serious pain and your little one may need to receive care right away.

If your child has an object stuck between their teeth, first try to gently remove it using floss. If that doesn’t work, schedule an appointment with your child’s dentist. Don’t try to remove it with any sharp or pointed objects because a minor slip of the wrist may result in a more serious injury. For a cracked or fractured tooth, immediately rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to clean the area, and then visit your child’s dentist as soon as possible. If you suspect a broken jaw, hold a cold compress on the face to minimize swelling and get to the dentist right away (or the emergency room in the event that your dentist is unavailable). For a completely knocked-out tooth, place it in a container of milk or use a tooth preservation product to keep it moist, then—you guessed it—head to your dentist’s office.

Schedule your child’s first dental appointment today.

If you have a question about your child’s first pediatric dental appointment that isn’t on this list, have a dental emergency, or just need to set up your child’s first visit, please give us a call or request an appointment online. We are always happy to help!