First-time parents often have this question about their kid’s oral health: “When should my kid’s first dental visit be?”
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, it should be as soon as the kid turns one, or earlier if he or she is at high risk for tooth decay.
Some parents would find that age too early, so they tend to plan the dentist visit when their kids are much older.
But one year old is actually the right time if you want to avoid future dental problems. In fact, some dentist would advocate bringing your kid to the dentist as soon as his or her very first primary tooth erupts.
But in case you are wondering how this visit will go about, here’s a short list of what to expect during your kid’s first dental visit.
First dental visits, especially for kids, are always about consultations first. In this consultation, the general or pediatric dentist will teach the parent on how to properly care for a kid’s mouth in order to avoid dental problems.
The parent will also be instructed about proper diet, prevention of oral habits (i.e. grinding, thumbsucking) if any, prevention of accidents that could damage the kid’s teeth, and what would happen in the coming months as the kid continues to grow.
Along with the initial consultation, the dentist may also conduct a comprehensive oral and dental examination to determine what treatment – preventive or curative – does the kid need.
The dentist and the parent will be in the knee-to-knee position with each other. The kid will sit on the parent’s lap and then lay down with his or her head on the dentist’s lap. This position allows both the dentist and the parent to see the kid’s mouth clearly.
The kid, on the other hand, will be facing his or her parent and can look up to the dentist at the same time.
Cleaning and fluoride application
The first dental visit is mostly for consultation (and sometimes clinical examination) due to one important reason: the dentist wouldn’t want to scare the kid by doing routine dental work right away.
As much as possible, no procedures should be performed because they want this first dental visit to be as comfortable and relaxing as possible.
However, in kids who are highly susceptible to decay, immediate cleaning and topical fluoride application may sometimes be necessary.
This is totally fine because they are not as invasive and “scary” as doing restorations and extractions.
Scheduling of follow-up visits
After consultation, your dentist formulates a treatment plan and schedule your kid’s future dental visits.
The interval of this visits is anywhere from weeks to months, depending on your kid’s treatment needs. The schedule your dentist will provide you must be followed thoroughly because they are sequenced accordingly.
Many dental problems can be treated or prevented more easily if they are detected early.
To do that, one must make it habit to start visiting the dentist even at an early age. Educate your kids early on about the importance of oral and dental health, so he or she will be encouraged to go to the dentist more often.