Many parents wonder when to take kids to the dentist for the first time. While there is no harm in going earlier, most dentists recommend taking your child to their first dental appointment within about six months of when their first tooth erupts. A kid's first pediatric dentistry visit should be no later than 12 months of age.
Build a Lifetime of Good Habits
When your infant is very small, your child’s first dentistry experience can help prepare them for a lifetime of good oral hygiene and help them feel comfortable at the dentist office.
At this age the dental team can advise you about:
Infant feeding practices
Mouth cleaning for infants
Healthy gum and tooth care for baby
Preventing tooth decay caused by bottles
Teaching your child about healthy oral hygiene habits
Prepare Yourself as a Role Model
Many parents have fears and anxieties about the dentist themselves, which children can pick up on. Make sure you are calm and secure when heading into the dental office with your child so that they see you there is nothing to be afraid of.
This can help build a lifetime of confidence, encourage positive relationships between your child and their dentist, and give them a secure foundation from which to start taking care of their teeth.
Help Prepare Your Child
If you have a toddler or older child going to the dentist for the first time, or it is the first time they will have a restorative procedure done such as a cavity filled, make sure you explain to them what will happen so that they are mentally prepared. Our staff at Smile Zone can inform you of the procedure in terms that your child is more likely to understand, if you’d like help with an explanation.
It’s a great idea to build excitement about going to the dentist to help your child get ready to take this important step as a “big kid“ who is responsible enough to take care of their teeth.
At Smile Zone it’s easy to get excited about a kid’s dental visit because we cater to children as an all-kids dental center. We have a fun office environment designed to make them feel happy and comfortable and team members who are experienced in working with children.
Communicate with the Dentist
Make sure to inform your dentist if this is your child’s first visit. Important things to mention include:
If your child typically becomes stressed, anxious, fearful, or defiant in other new situations
Oral hygiene habits at home
Your own fears and anxieties about the dentist
Any problems the child is experiencing
Habits like some thumb or finger sucking or chewing on objects
Any genetic conditions in the family
Allergies to medicines
Smile Zone we want to make both you and your child feel as comfortable and safe as possible. We encourage any and all questions that you may have. Open communication is an excellent thing to model for your child so that they begin to advocate for themselves and feel comfortable asking questions to healthcare providers when they are older.
Make it a Special Outing
Create traditions around going to the dentist that foster excitement rather than fear. You can try:
Getting a special treat together after the appointment
Visiting the park or their favorite place afterwards
Earning a special sticker or prize (we can help with that!)
Calling a grandparent, family member or beloved friend so your child can tell them about how brave they were at the dentist.
Making the first visit fun and comfortable will help ensure future dental visits will be positive experiences that can be looked forward to rather than dreaded.
As an all kids dental center, we cater to children and families with busy schedules and offer flexible scheduling. Even evening and weekend dental appointments can be requested if your calendar is filling up fast. Give us a call at (530) 230-0081 to schedule your child’s first dental visit today.
We can’t wait to welcome you and your little one to our Smile Zone Dental family!