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When Should Children Have Their First Dental Visit?

Before the rest of the information, it is important that you keep your teeth clean starting in pregnancy. Decay is passed from the main caregiver to the child. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and other experts recommend a first visit by age 1.

What should you expect to happen at the visit?

• Expect some crying. It’s a new experience, and it is normal for children to cry.

• A review of concerns of the parent.

• Hygiene instructions.

• Review of fluoride use, both topical and systemic.

• Cavity check. Yes, 1-year-olds do get cavities.

• Discussion of feeding issues (bottle, breast, and snacks).

What should parents do before the first visit?

• Work with your child about opening and showing his or her teeth. Be persistent and consistent. This should start with cleaning gums before teeth erupt and brushing when they do erupt.

• Be positive. If you have issues with going to the dentist, have your spouse or a grandparent bring your child.

• Read books about visiting the dentist. The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist is good.

How often do children need to visit the dentist?

Every six months is normal due to the rapid development. Different things happen as the child grows and develops. They get used to the office. They get more teeth. Teeth get closer together. Children become more cooperative.

What happens if my child gets cavities?

Options depend on number, location, and severity. Postposing with daily topical fluoride applications, removing decay with hand instruments and a fluoride releasing filling being placed, or if more involved sedation or general anesthesia in the hospital.

The key is starting early. Be positive: It’s a lifelong journey, not a single visit.


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