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What age should a child go to the dentist for the first time?

It’s a little known fact, but your child’s teeth start forming before they’ve even been born. Due to this, their first visit to the dentist could come sooner than you’d think. But how soon should it come and why? In this post, we will explain all.

How Old Should My Child be When They Visit the Dentist?

Children should visit the dentist before their first birthday. This is because their first primary teeth (also known as baby teeth) start to come through the gums at about four to six months. Your child should have a dental appointment within six months of their first teeth becoming visible, but the earlier, the better.

As well as scheduling a dental appointment when their teeth start to peer through, you should also start to brush your child’s teeth daily. You should brush their teeth for around two minutes, twice a day.

Why Should I Take My Child So Soon?

Some parents delay their child’s first visit to the dentist, believing that they’re too young to attend. For example, a survey in America revealed that if they were not prompted to by a doctor, 94% of parents didn’t take their child to the dentist until they had already turned three.

However, this can have a damaging effect. If you delay your child’s visit until they’re a few years old, then decay and other problems may have already developed. Decay and discolouration can begin with your child’s first tooth.

Not only are regular check-ups highly important at such a young age, but by taking your child to the dentist regularly, you’ll also build up a level of familiarity, comfort and trust.

What to Expect During Your First Visits

Most of your child’s first visit will be about familiarising them with the staff and the clinic. The dentist can also take the opportunity to build a positive relationship with your child by offering toys and stickers as rewards for positive behaviour.

Your child can be introduced to some of the equipment in a non-threatening way and can also sit in the chair. Once your child is comfortable, their dentist will have a quick look in their mouth. During this, the dentist will look for any signs of decay, while also checking your child’s gums, jaw and bite. For their first visits, toddlers can sit on your lap during their exam, if they prefer.

Your child’s first visit to the dentist is also a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about your child’s oral health. If you have any questions, it may be best to write them down in advance, just in case you forget when you arrive. In addition, the dentist will also run through some key points with you to help you learn how to look after your child’s teeth.

Unless your child experiences issues, they should then return every six months. With each visit, the dentist will build on the previous one. For example, they may count your child’s teeth or brush them with a polishing paste. If you and your child are comfortable, the dentist may even ask you to step outside so your child builds some independence after a few visits. On the other hand, if your child is uncomfortable, you may be asked to hold them while the dentist looks in their mouth.

Your child will start having full dental appointments at the age of three. X-rays are taken from the age of five onwards.

At The Gap Dental Practice, we care about your child’s teeth. If you’d like to schedule your child’s first dental appointment, then please call us on 07 3300 1277. We’re here to help, so get in touch today.

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