When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

Childhood milestones can be a mystery since every stage presents different questions. Are you trying to figure out when your child should take his first step or say his first word? Are you wondering whether it is time to take your child to the dentist? 


Taking care of your child’s oral health is a vital part of maintaining overall health. You need to know what to expect during the first dental appointment. It is necessary to find out when you should start taking your child to the dentist. 



Ensuring Good Oral Health



Taking your child to the dentist is the best way to set him up for a lifetime of healthy oral habits. During the visit, the dentist will talk to you about your child’s eating and drinking habits. You will also learn about the risks of tooth decay and fluoride intake. 


You can discuss the child’s use of pacifiers or the issue of thumb-sucking. In most cases, children do not require dental X-rays until around age six, when the first molars show up. An X-ray is only recommended if there is a risk of tooth decay or other concerns.



Your Child’s First Dental Visit



Dental professionals recommend scheduling your child’s first dental appointment before the first birthday or when the first tooth comes in. This means that the first appointment could be anywhere between six to 12 months. 


During the visit, the dentist will examine the emerging teeth and other aspects of the child’s oral development. The child’s first dental visit is more preventative than diagnostic. It is also an ideal time for parents to get information about the child’s oral health. 



First Dental Appointment: What to Expect



During the first dental visit, the dentist will assess the child’s oral development. This will include examining the teeth, gums, and jaws to confirm that everything is developing as it should. The dentist will also check for mouth injuries, cavities, and other issues that may require attention. 

The dentist will then use a toothbrush or wet cloth to clean the child’s teeth and gums. The dentist will discuss your child’s oral health and give you instructions on oral care.



Scheduling Subsequent Visits



Your dentist will recommend the best appointment schedule depending on your child’s condition. Most dentists schedule the second appointment after six months. Others recommend dental visits every three months. 


Scheduling several visits can benefit the child since it reduces the fear associated with going to the dentist. Habits that form during childhood will become lifelong habits.



Dental Health and Primary Care Physician



In most cases, a child’s pediatrician or primary care physician provides basic oral care. The care is mainly about hygiene and addressing other issues. However, this care is not a substitute for a proper dental exam. 


Your family doctor has a limited ability when it comes to some dental issues. The doctor can be a great resource for recommending a dental pediatrician. Early dental care can help prevent oral problems. 


To find out when you should start taking your child to the dentist, visit Castro Valley Dentistry at our office in Castro Valley, California. You can call (510) 674-0900 today to schedule an appointment.

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