Your Baby’s Very 1st Dental Visit: What You Need To Know
Early establishment of your baby’s “dental home” lays the foundation for a positive approach to dental care throughout their lifetime.
ADA & AAPD Recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association both recommend that your baby be seen for his or her first dental visit sometime between the eruption of their 1st tooth and their 1st birthday.
Why So Early?
Many parents question whether a trip to the dentist this early is really necessary, especially since many parents themselves did not visit the dentist for the first time until they started school, at about 5 or 6 years old. The real answer is in the statistics, some of which may surprise you.
The National Center for Health Statistics (a CDC agency) reported in 2018 that an average of 18% of all children age 2-5 have experienced dental decay, with the National Institutes of Health reporting this prevalence as high as 85% in credible studies. Clearly, dental decay is an epidemic, requiring a prevention-based strategy for every child. The earlier a strategy is implemented, the better!
What Happens At Visit No. 1?
At your baby’s first dental appointment, a dental hygienist or dentist will remove plaque from their teeth with a soft toothbrush or rubber cup using paste appropriate for your child. Hard deposits (tartar) are removed with a dental instrument for pediatric patients, and professional-strength fluoride will be safely applied to strengthen the enamel. The dentist will then examine the teeth and gums for any areas of concern, making a plan for treatment, if necessary. During this appointment, a wide range of relevant topics may be discussed, most commonly including taking care of your child’s teeth at home, bottles and sippy cups at bedtime, and pacifier use. Parents’ questions are welcomed and encouraged, too!
Pediatric dental offices are very experienced with first time baby visits, and they welcome the opportunity to support your child’s dental health on their path to adulthood. Using Google or the advice of friends and family can help you locate a dental home that is perfect for your baby and you!