Everything you need to know about the first dentist visit in your baby’s first year.
Parenthood comes with many firsts. In your baby’s first year, you watch with bated breath as they learn how to roll over, crawl, stand up, and a bevy of other milestones. Another exciting moment? When they develop their first tiny tooth!
There’s nothing like taking your little one to their first dentist visit, watching as they meet their dentist and experience all the new sights and sounds.
However, what if their birthday comes and goes and they’re still all gums? Is a visit still in order? We know it can be confusing, and we’re here to help. Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know about visiting the dentist in your baby’s first year.
First Dentist Visit: The Facts to Know
As a new parent, we know your time is at an all-time premium. So, let’s cover the basics first. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you take your baby in for their first dentist visit as soon as they reach one of these milestones:
- Their first tooth erupts.
- They turn one year old.
That means if they develop their first tooth at seven months, then go ahead and bring them in for an initial evaluation. On the other hand, if you throw their first birthday bash and they still don’t have any teeth, it’s still time to start Googling “pediatric dentist near me.” Usually, most babies will develop their first tooth around six months of age, but some don’t reach this milestone until they turn 14 or 15 months.
Understanding the Timing
What’s all the rush about? The reality is that as soon as your baby has teeth, they could develop cavities. Early dental visits can help you understand how to properly take care of their teeth and gums to keep their mouth in great shape. As early as their 18-month visit, dentists can use key variables to assess your child’s risk of current or future tooth decay.
These variables include your child’s:
- History of preventative dental visits.
- Duration of breastfeeding.
- Number of missed dental appointments.
Even without teeth, early dental visits are still important. Proper gum care can help prepare your baby for a lifetime of healthy habits and keep dental decay at bay. Despite popular belief, when it is time for your baby’s first tooth to grow, it won’t “cut” through their gums. Rather, their gums will slowly begin to separate and recede, making room for the tooth to push through.
If their gum tissue is inflamed or infected due to the presence of food, bacteria, or microscopic material, it can lead to pain and distress. Clean, healthy gums can make the teething process much more comfortable!
Preparing Your Child for their First Dentist Visit
When you’ve reached one of the two noted milestones, it’s time to start preparing your child for their first dentist visit! Be sure to stay positive and explain what will happen in terms they can understand. You can even watch YouTube videos or read books that explain the process in kid-friendly ways!
For your part, go ahead and make a list of any questions you have about your child’s dental health. For instance, write down any concerns you have about:
- Pacifier use.
- General dental care.
When you arrive at the dentist’s office, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the excitement, and you might forget these questions. Write them down before you go and remember to take the list with you.
What to Expect at Your First Dentist Visit
When you call to schedule your baby’s first dentist visit, our friendly scheduling coordinators will help you plan your visit. They’ll work around your schedule, answer any questions you might have, and even help you understand your insurance coverage.
If you’re new to our office, we encourage you to arrive about 20 minutes early. This gives you time to fill out our new patient paperwork and ask any day-of questions that you might have. Plus, you’ll want to schedule a little time for your child to enjoy the fun, interactive games we have in our waiting area!
Once we call your child back to the treatment area, we’ll take the time to go over the medical forms provided. This is a great time to share any concerns you might have about your child’s teeth and gums.
Next, the fun can really begin! One of our team members will lead you on an informative tour of our office facilities. At this time, you’ll get to meet our dentist and watch other pint-sized patients getting their teeth cleaned!
Comprehensive Dental Exam
Once your child is fully acclimated to our office, we’ll perform a thorough dental exam. In addition to a professional cleaning, we’ll also take radiographs if any are required.
When the exam is finished, we’ll talk to you and your child about simple, effective ways to keep their mouth healthy. We’ll also share the proper method for removing plaque from their teeth and gums so you know you’re doing it the right way!
Choose Us for Your Child’s First Pediatric Dentist Visit
At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we’re dedicated to providing your child a foundation of excellent dental health.
From their first dentist visit as a baby to the time they graduate high school, we’re here for them every step of the way. We’re experts in pediatric health and we have access to the state-of-the-art tools and technologies required to perform a range of treatments.
We know that the very first dentist visit can seem a little unnerving, and we’re here to make the experience comfortable, pleasant, and downright fun! Contact us today to schedule an appointment and we’ll look forward to welcoming you and your little sidekick!