When Should Children First See the Dentist? First Visit by First Birthday

October 24, 2011

Baby with new teethAt what age should your child have his or her first visit to the dentist? Marin pediatric dentist Dr. Neidre Banakus tells us why it's important to visit the dentist by your child's first birthday in this guest article.

Have you asked yourself, “When should my child have their first dental appointment?” This is a very common question among parents and the answer may surprise you. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Dr. Banakus recommend “First Visit by First Birthday.”

Why so young?

For children, this is a time of change and development in their world and their teeth are appearing as well. The reason that this visit is crucial is not only to begin a relationship with children to their pediatric dentist, but also to ensure their mouth is healthy and that growth and development are normal.

What happens at this first visit?

During the appointment, the parent and child will get acquainted with their new friends at the dental office. This is a great time for parents to discuss baby’s home oral hygiene routine, dietary habits, thumb or pacifier habits, trauma prevention, fluoride intake and any other questions they may have. Your baby will receive a thorough examination, a complete cleaning and a recommended fluoride treatment while lying on the parent/dentist in a “Lap to Lap” or “Knee to Knee” position to ensure baby’s comfort and safety. Parents will get a great view inside the baby’s mouth and learn proper brushing and flossing techniques.

But I'm concerned that my baby may cry? Will this traumatize her?

Don’t worry! Some babies will cry for their first few visits, while other babies lounge comfortably; it is normal for them to cry a little in this new environment. However, by establishing a dental home for your child at this young age, their comfort level and cooperation will increase as they age. This establishes a series of non-invasive visits and ensures that the child learns that the dentist is a safe and fun environment. This also allows us to see any potential problems in development as well as any cavities that may be starting. Proper prevention will be reviewed and this makes a difference for your child’s health now and in the future.

At Novato Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Banakus is proud to be a diplomate in the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Her primary focus is on the education of parents and children and the prevention of dental issues thereby ensuring a lifetime of good oral health and happiness!

Dr. Neidra Banakus' dental offices are located in downtown Novato at 1500 Grant Avenue Suite 100A. To find our more about her and her practice, call (415) 897-5566 or visit www.thesmilingturtle.com.

Photo: iStockphoto