The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first dental visit occur by their 1st birthday or within 6 months after their first tooth comes in. The reason our office and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry so strongly advise this is to begin a thorough prevention plan and to establish a dental home for your child. The exception to this recommendation is if there is a particular concern or trauma to the teeth prior to this time frame.

Finding a dental home early on for your little one also promotes the development of trust between your child and their doctor, eliminating the fear often felt when visiting the dentist. The first appointment should be one that is non-threatening, fun and happy! This will get your child off on the right foot for a lifetime of healthy smiles!

At your child’s first appointment we will go over your child’s medical history, talk about any habits your child may have that could affect their teeth, do a growth and development chart, and talk with you about any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s dental health.

Another major goal of the first appointment is parental education. The dentist will simply examine your child’s teeth and give you advice on how to better take care of your child’s oral health. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and will be provided with brochures on a variety of topics.

Small children are examined by doing a knee-to-knee exam. The dentist and parent sit down facing one another and the parent then holds the child’s body in his or her lap and the dentist holds the child’s head in his or her lap. This is known as knee-to-knee dentistry and has been proven to be a good method to put children at ease while allowing the dentist to check for early cavities and oral developmental problems. At our office the dentist will examine, brush and apply fluoride to your child’s teeth at their appointment. Knee-to-knee exams continue every 6 months until the child is comfortable sitting in the dental chair, usually around age 3.

Come back next week for part 2 of “First Visit by Age 1 – Why is that important?”

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