New parents often ask us, “When should I start taking my child to the dentist?” They are often surprised to hear that their child’s first visit should be around the time of their first birthday. “That early?” they ask.
Children’s teeth begin emerging about the time of their first birthday, and believe it or not, even at that young age, their teeth can be susceptible to tooth decay.
You may think that it doesn’t matter because these cute little baby teeth will eventually fall out anyway. But decay in, or the early loss of or damage to, baby teeth can have serious implications for the permanent teeth. Decay in baby teeth can increase the likelihood of decay in permanent teeth or surrounding bone and gum tissue, and the loss of a tooth placeholder can cause other baby teeth to shift out of line, creating difficulty for the new teeth to come in correctly, among other problems.
What to Expect on Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
On your first child’s first visit to EverSmile Dentistry, we will perform an oral exam of your child’s teeth and gums to create a baseline from which we can measure any changes during future visits. We will also inspect for decay or other problems in the teeth or gums.
We review with parents the proper care of baby teeth so that you’ll know how to care for your child’s dental health at home, and give you time to ask questions. (We love it when you ask questions!) We’ll talk about:
• How to gently and safely brush and care for your child’s teeth and gums
• What creates a cavity risk
• What to expect with teething and thumb sucking and other oral habits
• Healthy eating diet for good oral health
After this first visit, you’ll schedule regular dental appointments, just as you do with adult dental care, on an every-six-months schedule.
Tips for Visiting the Dentist for the First Time
Since any visit to a doctor or dentist can be scary, allow your child to bring along a favorite toy or comfort item, such as a teddy bear or blanket. And don’t build up the visit as something special; act as if it is part of the normal routine.
At EverSmile Dentistry, we make it fun to visit the dentist with a play area stocked with toys and games. Your child can play happily prior to their own visit and have fun while their siblings are in their appointments.
Dental Care for Older Children
By the age of five, your children should know how to brush their teeth by themselves, with your supervision. We recommend brushing twice daily with a soft brush, in the morning and evening, using no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit at EverSmile Dentistry
EverSmile Dentistry provides a full range of dental treatments for children including regular cleaning, tooth extraction, cavity repairs and fillings, and restoration from an accident or injury, and we’re conveniently located in Sterling, Virginia to serve families in Northern Virginia and the surrounding area. Please contact us to make your appointment.