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Children Need to See a Dentist by Age 1

little girl brushing teeth

If you’re a new parent chances are you’ve wondered when your child should see the dentist. While the average age for a first dental visit is 2.6 years, the answer might surprise you. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see a dentist by age 1 or within six months of their first tooth erupting. Most children start teething around six months. Starting a child at the dentist early on helps to establish healthy habits from the beginning. These are habits your child will carry with them into adulthood.

Are baby teeth really that important?

A common myth is that baby teeth aren’t all that important. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Baby teeth play a crucial role in your child’s development. Baby teeth help children chew properly and maintain good nutrition. They also aid in speech development. Another important feature of baby teeth is that they save room for adult teeth, which leads to a healthy smile and healthy self-esteem.

Without baby teeth your child’s mouth doesn’t develop properly. This leads to issues as children get older.

How often should my child see the dentist?

The reason children need to see a dentist is to ensure everything is being done to prevent decay. The general recommendation is that children see a dentist every six months, because decay can occur quickly. The doctor will recommend the best timeline for you and your child. This will depend on their overall health and if they have any unique needs. For example, patients with weaker teeth (often caused by genetics), might need to come in more frequently.

Get Comfortable With the Dentist

Starting your child at the dentist early helps to get them comfortable with the dentist early on. Many adults avoid the dentist because they’re scared to go. By establishing your child with a dentist early on you are helping to combat any future phobias that could inhibit your child from visiting the dentist as an adult.

Regardless, it might be intimidating as a parent to take your child to an office full of sharp instruments and a stranger poking around at his or her mouth. You can help ease the scariness. Start by taking your baby with you to your next appointment so they see you having your teeth cleaned. You can also give our office a call to talk about what Dr. Dokhanchi recommends in terms of preparing children for their dental appointment.

Another way to ease any jitters is to pretend to be a dentist with your child. It might sound off, but by taking the time to examine each other’s teeth or count your teeth. Finally, make sure your child is relaxed before their doctor’s appointment. Ensure they’re well rested, taken their nap, and are in a good mood.

Scheduling Your Appointment

If you’re ready to take the next step and get your child into the dentist, give our team at Fox Valley Dental a call. We are committed to providing each of our patients with an enjoyable experience and have extensive experience working with patients of all ages.