Share your advice for the first dentist visit!

Dental care is one of those areas of child raising that's really clear at home, but when it comes to seeing the professionals, the guidelines are a little vague. What age do you recommend making your child's first visit to the dentist? What are some tips you can share to make the first visit easier?

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12  Answers

4 11

We took our son at 3 years old. In regards to prep, I just explained to him that we were going to his teeth doctor just like he goes to a body doctor. She would be checking his teeth and doing a little cleaning and polishing and then it would be done. We were VERY lucky to have been given a referral to a gal who has such a way with kids and made it fun for them. Nothing like what I had to go thru as a child. My now almost 3 year old went to that visit and has been to every visit since with her brother. The Dr. has included her in these appts so when she goes for her first real visit in January it will be no big deal. Talk, talk, talk to your kids. It's the fear of the unknown that gets them and if they are nervous, understand their feelings and continue to reassure. Happy Teeth, Everyone!

7 16

I took my daughter at 5, her ped. was checking her teeth before that and just let us know, for a more profound check-up to take her to a dentist. I researched dentist, and found one I really like, Make sure you pick a pediatric dentist, call and speak to the staff, ask if the dentist is child friendly (yes even pediatric dentist can be cranky pants) also ask what do they do to calm a child down with their fears. I told my daughter we were going to the dentist, she was scared but the Dr. put her at ease, now my 3 kids love going to see him, and it is very pleasant, but I must emphasis the Dentist should be very child friendly, if not you could have trouble on your hands

3 15

i work in a dental office, so i had many advantages. i introduced my son to a toothbrush at around the age of nine mos, by that time, he had approx six teeth. I always brought him into work, so he was able to get.comfortable with the surroundings, at 15mos, we gave it a shot, and he did wonderfully. Allow them to know what a toothbrush does, even if its for play, let them watch you brush your teeth, bring then with you (if possible) to yiur dental appt, it works wonders:)

1 0

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0 19

My husband and I have always taken our daughter with us to the dentist. I asked our dentist when he thought she should have her first appointment/cleaning. He said between 3 and 4 years old. So what we did was she went in the room with me and watched as the hygienist cleaned my teeth and allowed her to get right up there and then answered her questions. The same with the dentist. When it was her turn, she climbed right up into the chair and opened her mouth. She's 10 now and loves going to the dentist.

3 28

The guidelines for first dental visits are vag. I am a general dentist and see a lot of children! The American Acadamy of Pediatrics recommend the first visit at age 1. There is over a 250% increase in childhood cavities between age 1-2. I call it a smile check! It is ment to teach parents on care of teeth, feeding habits, oral care, and answer questions parents may have! It is to check for starts of cavities, but more so to start great routines. It is a knee to knee exam that can be very comforting to the child and parent! Parents should be wiping gums off after feedings from the start and brushing teeth when the first one erupts! Not brushing the baby's teeth is like you not brushing yours. Also the dentist can determine if fluoride is recommended.
I can say not all dentists will see children at 1 year old, but it has made a huge difference in my practice. Children ask when they can come back! For more information look up "points of light" online. It will tell you dentists willing to see children at an early age.
One last note...not all children have cavities, decay is the most prevelant childhood disease that is 100% preventable! Dr. Margaret DDS

0 17

I am a dental hygienist and work in a general dentist office. I LOVE seeing children of all ages and do not believe they have to be taken to a Pediatric dentist unless they have a lot of cavities or do not cooperate. It is up to you as to when you feel you and your child are comfortable going to the dentist but do not put it off too long. Children usually have all of their baby teeth at the age of 3 and cavities can begin forming and SHOULD be fixed. It is a lot easier and less expensive to fix small cavities rather to let them go because they are "Just baby teeth". Please don't make your children suffer with a tooth ache!!! Some hygienist and dentist prefer not to see children so ask the receptionist when you call to schedule the appt. If you are not comfortable with what the dentist or hygienist are doing speek you mind but please remember we are trained professionals. Good Luck everyone and please remember it is important to have a HEALTHY MOUTH!!! Everything you put in your mouth affects your WHOLE BODY. KEEP YOUR KIDS HEALTHY :)

88 22

I understand why you feel this is vague. Nobody really says much about going to the dentist and they have changed the minimum age as well. I always heard 3 years old, however a friend of mine informed me just last week that they are now saying 18 months. This is still news to me because I have a 3 year old and a 9 month old. My oldest is 11 and she cried, but I think it depends on their personality. My 3 year old had to have blood drawn and she sat in the chair by herself and didn't cry at all. Her first dentist appt is tomorrow, but I'm hoping all goes well since she has already shown us what a big girl she can be. Mine always go to the dentist with me so they are familiar with the place and I think that will help a lot.

25 12

With my first son, now 4 years old I had read the recommendation that they should be seen by their second birthday. I went with that and he was seen right after his second birthday! He did AMAZING! Just sat quietly and did what they told him to do. We do go to a pediatric dentist and their office is wonderful with kids! I had my second son, now 2 and they recommended when they get their first tooth they should be seen. We brought him along every 6 months to my older sons visits and the dentist would check him out while we held him but it wasn't an "official" appointment. He just had his first official appointment last month when he turned 2 and he did not care for it much. He let them brush his teeth with a regular toothbrush and he also can not receive flouride treatments because of his peanut allergy. He did cry when the dentist himself came to look at his teeth but got over it very quickly when he received a car for a prize haha! I never got to go to the dentist much at all as a child so it is actually one of my favorite things to do! I love getting my teeth cleaned! And everyone in my family goes every 6 months!

70 8

I took all 3 of my children at the age of 3. My best advice would be to find a children's dentist. My 6 and 4 y/o love their dentist. The staff is friendly and the child friendly atmosphere is very welcoming. Their dentist uses kiddie words like sugar bugs for cavities. I guess it all depends on the child and if you have concerns but i would suggest a children's dentist.

160 56

I just took mine, and she is 3 it went Ok. I told her we get to have your teeth looked at. She didn't liek the flouride and it was a shorter visit coded under insurance. She sat on my lap the chair was moved up and down, she enjoyed the big alligator that the dental hygenist showed her how to brush her teeth. She said she wanted to go back.
I have seen this dentist since I was a kid so I wasn't worried, he sees kids but not known as a ped dentist.

5 13

The guidelines are not vague, they recommend taking your child to the dentist within 6 months of the appearance of their first teeth. If your child sees the dentist like a doctor, they won't be anymore afraid then they are of their pediatrician. I would recommend a pediatric dentist from the very beginning so that your child sees the same person at every visit. However, a regular dentist can do check-ups until dental work is required. Ask questions - mostly to get a feel of personality, but also about whether they force x-rays (the most uncomfortable part of the exam) and also if they sedate in office (which is bad, children can and have died). Sedation is only for extreme dental work for children under 5 and only in a hospital. Also, I really didn't want a dentist that would lie to my kids about getting shots or anything else.

1 19

I wish I could give you multiple votes, Mary! When I read the question I too thought, "What do they mean the guidelines are a little vague?" Also, for some reason, my youngest of four indeed had the beginnings of a cavity on one of his teeth by the age of two (not sure why he was different than the others who didn't have any cavities until school-age years.) However, I do know I am glad we had him early enough to find it and discuss options!

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