Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend taking your child to the dentist before their first birthday. This early visit will help you find out how your child is doing, help you know how to care for your child’s developing teeth, and help your child feel comfortable at the dental office.
Your baby’s teeth are already in the mouth they are born, all 20 of them, hidden in the gums. There are ten on top, and ten on the bottom. These primary teeth start emerging between six and twelve months. By the time your child is three all twenty have erupted in the mouth.
Your child’s first visit is to introduce them to what it is like to go to the dentist, assess their oral health, and build trust with the dental team. The length of the visit can be from 15-30 minutes. The goal is to give your child a pleasant first experience at the dental office, to prepare them for future visits in a positive way.
Your dental team will go over the following to help you learn how to care for your child’s developing mouth; how to use fluoride properly, how to handle your child’s oral habits such as thumb sucking, how to help your baby during teething, how your child is progressing in terms of development, how to avoid accidents that could harm your child’s teeth, and how to use diet to prevent both tooth decay and gum disease.
Your child’s teeth, jaw, gums, and bite will be carefully checked to make sure development is progressing properly and to make sure there are no problems. A gentle cleaning may be done if needed. X-rays may be taken. The dentist may show you how to clean your child’s teeth at home and check to see if fluoride is needed. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have about your child’s oral health. It is advisable to schedule the visit in the morning if possible, minimizing your child’s tiredness so they may feel calm and cooperative and making it a happy experience for them.
As you can see, it is never too early to help your child develop healthy oral habits for a lifetime of smiles. Please call the Heritage Dental team at 717-755-2817 today if you have any questions or concerns!