Going to the Dentist

A little girl sitting in her dad's lap holding a toothbrush up to her mouth while a dentist looks on smiling

Many new parents wonder, “When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?” According to the American Dental Association, your child should have their first dental visit by their first birthday, or sometime within six months of when they get their first tooth. 

When looking for a dentist for your child, you may choose to go to your regular family dentist or a pediatric dentist. There are advantages to both, such as familiarity with your family dentist and specialized training for children with the pediatric dentist. The most important aspect to consider is that you and your child are comfortable with your choice. If you choose to find a pediatric dentist, it’s best to ask your family dentist for a recommendation or visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry web site for a list of pediatric dentists in your area. 

During your child’s first visit, the dentist will speak with you in depth about your child’s overall health history, their oral health history (including teething, biting, thumb-sucking and feeding) and answer any questions you may have. Then, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth, gums, jaw and oral tissues. The dentist may also demonstrate the best way to clean your child’s teeth at home, provide information on what to expect as your child grows and offer suggestions for your child’s optimal oral health. Most dentists will wait until follow-up visits (within the next six months) to professionally clean and polish your child’s teeth, take x-rays and give a fluoride treatment. 

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