As parents, we’re surrounded by people who offer advice on simply everything, from nutrition to education and beyond. But when it comes to oral health, you need to talk to a dental professional.
In this article, we address an important question asked by many parents:
At what age should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
The first dental consultation should take place when the child is old enough to cooperate, between ages two and four. Parents are the best judges of whether or not their child is receptive, cooperative and curious, or likely to put up a struggle. The sooner children have a pleasant experience at the dentist’s, the more likely they are to form positive associations with dental visits.
The first appointment lets the child become accustomed to the clinical setting. This meeting is important because it allows the dentist to assess teething and detect caries. At subsequent meetings, the child will feel more confident and the dental hygienist will be able to perform a cleaning. Of course, it can happen that children are cooperative enough for a cleaning during the first visit. However, the important thing is not to insist but rather ensure that the child’s first dental appointment is a positive experience.
Starting with the first visit, the dental hygienist checks and (as needed) corrects the child’s brushing technique, while the dentist examines the child’s teeth. Diet is also addressed: parents are advised to avoid overly frequent snacks, particularly cavity-causing sweets.
Barring any problems or emergencies, the first dental x-rays are not normally taken until ages five or six.
A WORD FROM THE HYGIENIST:
In the event of a dental emergency (falls, injuries, broken teeth, etc.), there is no minimum age for seeing the dentist.