What You Need To Know About Your Child's First Visit To The Dentist

Posted on: 28 August 2019

If you're like virtually all new parents, you want your child to be as healthy as possible. You're probably up on all the latest information about child nutrition and take great care to feed your baby proper foods and beverages, as well as routinely keeping all appointments with your pediatrician. Like many other new parents, however, you might fail to realize the importance of dental care for your child because you've been told all your life that the health of the baby teeth doesn't really matter — after all, they'll be replaced by primary teeth soon enough anyway. However, it is not the case that baby teeth don't require care. These teeth set the stage for your child's future dental health. They hold space for the permanent teeth that will grow in at some point, and if baby teeth are lost, the permanent teeth may fail to grow in properly.

You should be cleaning your child's mouth shortly after birth with a clean, damp rag and brushing his or her teeth as they come in. Most children are able to handle brushing their teeth on their own at around the age of three. Of course, regular visits to a pediatric dentist are an essential component of keeping your child's baby teeth healthy. Here's what you need to know about that first visit:

The Exam Won't Last Any Longer Than 45 Minutes

Most first visits to a pediatric dentist last between 30 and 45 minutes. The dentist will perform a gentle examination of your child's teeth and gum areas to ensure that growth and development of the teeth are proceeding at a normal pace. Depending on the age of the child and how many of his or her baby teeth have grown in, your dentist may perform a gentle cleaning. X-rays are generally not a part of the picture with very young children unless the dentist has found something abnormal during the examination that warrants further investigation. 

This is the Perfect Time to Ask the Dentist Questions

Your child's first dental visit should also include an informational session with the parents, so feel free to write down a list of questions to ask before the appointment so that you'll be prepared. For instance, you may have questions about how to teach children to brush their teeth or questions about helping them through the teething process when their baby teeth are coming in. 

Contact a clinic, like Dentistry For Children & Adolescents, to learn more.