The proper care of your oral health doesn’t start when you’re an adult. In fact, the opposite is true. A proper dental foundation starts at a young age. Since most kids aren’t thinking about their overall oral health, it’s up to you as a parent to pour that foundation for them. So, when is the best time to take your child to the dentist for the first time? There are a lot of conflicting answers out there, so it’s important to learn what is right for your child.

The Importance of Visiting the Dentist

It’s important to first understand why it is important for your children to see the dentist from a young age. Unfortunately, some parents think that because their kids lose their primary teeth that it’s not necessary for them to see a dentist. This way of thinking can cause serious issues for your children and their teeth. Their primary teeth are important for many reasons, including things such as:

  • Proper speech development
  • Help with chewing foods
  • Saving space for the permanent teeth
  • Promoting healthy body image and confidence with their smiles

As you start to encourage proper dental hygiene techniques in your children, you can be sure you are encouraging a lifelong oral health process that will be invaluable.

Time to See the Dentist

Knowing the importance of taking care of your children’s teeth at an early stage naturally leads to you taking them to the dentist for their first checkup. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you first take your child to see a dentist by their first birthday, or within six months of the first tooth erupting. As you follow this recommendation, you are giving the dentist the opportunity to catch problems with your child’s oral health before those problems get worse.

Preparing for the Dentist

Most adults get nervous when they see the dentist. The thought of all those drills and procedures is enough to get anyone nervous. Just imagine how it is for your children. Fortunately, if this is the first time your child has gone to the dentist, he or she won’t know a thing about it. As such, it’s especially important that you create the right image from the beginning. You can do this in several different ways. Some of these ways include:

  • Visiting the dentist before the actual appointment. That way, your child will know what to expect and may even be excited to go in again if it was a pleasurable experience.
  • Creating a pretend visit before the appointment. You can take turns playing the dentist and the patient with your child, making the whole experience playful and fun. When the time comes for the appointment, your child will think it’s just like the game you’ve been playing throughout the week.
  • Going at the right time. You alone know when your child is behaving his or her best. Try to plan your visit around that time so you know your child will be comfortable and happy.

Choosing the Right Dentist

Finding the right dentist is crucial to your kids having a good first experience at the office. Take a lot of time to research potential dentists and find the one that will be the right fit for your children. Ask other parents in your area who their children see and ask for recommendations from people you trust. When you have found some potential candidates, take your child with you to visit the office and get a feel for how the dentist is around kids. This is an important decision, and it’s one you don’t want to make lightly, so be sure to choose carefully, considering all the factors.