Your child’s teeth are starting to come in. There are quite a few of them, in fact. It’s got you thinking: when should a child’s first dentist appointment be? That’s a good question and one that we can answer in detail! Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about your child’s first dentist visit.

At What Age Should You Schedule Your Child’s Dentist Visit?

Generally speaking, it’s wise to schedule a child’s first dental appointment at around 1 year of age. Usually, by this point, your child’s teeth will have started to come in.

While waiting until your child is 2 or 3 will not cause major issues, it will put him or her behind the curve. It’s better to get your child in sooner rather than later so that their dentist can catch potential problem spots early in their existence. The longer you wait, the more complicated these problems could become.

What Happens at a Child’s First Dental Appointment?

Now, you might be wondering: what happens at a child’s first dental appointment. Generally speaking, these appointments are fairly laid back. Depending on the circumstances, they might include the following.

Dentist Speaks With Parent About Oral Hygiene Practices

Regardless of the dentist, you visit, he or she is sure to speak with you, the parent, about good oral hygiene practices. After all, until your child has developed rationale and proper motor skills, you’re the one responsible for his or her dental care.

You’ll likely discuss proper brushing, proper flossing, and other such practices. If your child is found to have any problem spots, you’ll be advised on what to do about them as well.

Dentist Speaks With Child to Build a Connection

For a child (or anyone, really), the dentist can be a little scary. As such, at your child’s first dental appointment, the dentist will likely speak with your child as a means of building a friendly connection. If your child is too young to speak, the dentist might play with him or her for a bit.

This is designed to make your child comfortable in the dental environment. The more comfortable he or she is, the easier it will be for you to get him or her to the dentist in the future.

Dentist Cleans the Child’s Teeth

Depending on how old your child is during his or her first appointment, and depending on the state of his or her teeth, the dentist might facilitate a cleaning. This will include a deep brushing of the teeth and might include flossing and picking as well.

Note, this is typically reserved for older children (those around 2 or 3). Babies’ teeth are generally in good shape and typically don’t require cleaning.

Dentist Facilitates Digital Imaging Scans

There’s also a chance that the dentist will facilitate digital imaging scans. So, for instance, the dentist might take x-rays of your child’s teeth.

This is done to discover the positioning of the teeth and any problems that might arise in the future. Like teeth cleaning, this step is generally reserved for older children. It’s unlikely that a baby would be subject to x-rays or other digital imaging scans.

How Long Will Your Child’s First Dental Appointment Last?

Kids can get cranky, especially if someone is poking around their teeth with hard and sharp objects. So, you might be wondering: how long will your child’s first dental appointment last?

If your child is still a baby, the appointment likely won’t last any longer than 15 minutes. If your child is a toddler, on the other hand, it could last as long as 45 minutes.

To keep your child occupied, make sure to bring some toys along. These will keep your child stimulated if the appointment ends up lasting a long time.

Preparing Your Child for His or Her First Dentist Appointment

Dentist appointments can be a little intimidating, particularly for kids. As such, before you bring your child into the dentist, you need to prepare. Here are some preparation tips.

Bring Toys

As was noted above, it’s a good idea to bring toys to your child’s first dental appointment. These toys will not only keep your child occupied if the appointment runs long, but they will also help distract your child during any unpleasant procedures.

Talk With Your Child About the Appointment

If your child can speak, you’re going to want to talk with him or her about what they can expect at the appointment. This will help to ease your child’s fears and also provide you with a chance to answer any questions that he or she might have.

When speaking with your child, stay away from negative scenarios. Frame every subject in a positive light. Remember: the point of this conversation is to encourage your child, not scare him or her away.

Play Pretend

Kids love playing pretend. So, before you embark on your trip to the dentist, roleplay a dentist scenario. Sit your child in a chair and use fake tools to check his or her teeth.

When doing this, make sure the environment is a positive one. You want your child to associate the situation with good vibes. If he or she does the opposite, you could be in for a long day.

Keep it Close

The longer it takes for you to get to the dentist, the more time your child will have to think about what might happen. This can lead to anxiety, which could lead to an absolute disaster of a first dental visit.

How do you get around this? By making sure that the dentist is located fairly close to your home. We recommend keeping the drive under 15 minutes.

Looking to Schedule a Dentist Appointment in Dallas?

Ready for your child’s first dentist appointment? Looking to schedule a dentist appointment in Dallas, in particular? Dallas Children’s Dental Network has you covered.

Contact us now to schedule an appointment!