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In the first few months and years of your child’s life, there’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to their well-being. One of those priorities is your child’s oral health and development. A big part of supporting healthy teeth and gums? Dental visits. 

But when should kids start going to the dentist? The team at Oak Tree Pediatric Dentistry believes there’s no such thing as too early: you don’t have to wait for a full set of baby teeth to appear before taking your child for their first dental visit. In fact, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first dental visit happen by their first birthday. Or within six months of your child’s first tooth erupting.

Why a first dental visit by age 1?

Cavities in kids is the most common pediatric health issue in America — four times more prevalent than asthma. In addition, a national survey found that 50% of kids experience cavities at one time or another in their baby teeth. Undetected and untreated cavities can lead to worse problems like gum disease. So for a baby or toddler, a first dental visit is about preventing cavities. And we’re all about preventative dentistry at Oak Tree Pediatric Dentistry.

A visit to the dentist for your 1 year-old can catch any potential tooth decay and equip you with the knowledge for keeping cavities at bay. Even if your child doesn’t have all their baby teeth by 12 months, a first dental visit by this age allows you to:

  • check on the health of both teeth and gums
  • find out if tooth development is on track
  • learn tips for daily oral care to maintain a healthy, happy smile
  • spot any potential orthodontic issues
  • receive a professional yet gentle cleaning if needed

A baby dental exam also shows you if infant habits like thumb sucking or pacifier use, feeding routines, or bottle use are affecting the health and alignment of your child’s baby teeth. If we find potential issues, Dr. Chay and Dr. Hendrix can offer tips and tricks for stopping any problematic habits.

What does a dental check up for babies look like at Oak Tree Pediatric Dentistry?

At Oak Tree Pediatric Dentistry, we offer dental check ups for babies right from birth. A baby dental exam — or even a first dental visit by age 2 or age 3 — helps your child (and you!) build a relationship with the dentist. Early first dental visits for babies and toddlers also help them learn good oral care habits from the get go. And first dental visits at a young age also ensure your child gets used to the sights, sounds, and routines of a dental office.

Your baby or toddler will likely sit on your lap in the dentist chair. Dr. Chay or Dr. Hendrix will chat with them using kid-friendly terms and talk through what will happen before we begin. Then we show you and your child all the dental tools we will use and talk about what each is for. 

Once your child feels comfortable and ready, we do a quick and gentle examination of their mouth and count their teeth. Finally, your Greenville dentist for kids will fill you in on our findings, what to expect as your child grows, and some tips for keeping their smile strong and healthy. And if you have any questions about your child’s teeth, we’re happy to answer them of course!

Some pro tips for a smooth first dental visit

As your Greenville, SC pediatric dentists, we do everything we can to make your baby or toddler’s first dental visit a happy experience. But before you arrive, you can help pave the way with a few steps at home. 

Consider preparing for your child’s first dental visit by:

  • Scheduling your baby’s dental visit for a morning appointment when your child is most fresh and alert
  • Talking about going to the dentist in positive tones and explaining what will happen
  • Reassuring your toddler you’ll be there in the room with them the whole time and that you can sit with them if that’s what feels most secure
  • If you have your own dental anxieties, staying calm and not relating your anxieties to your child will go a long way in allowing them to form their own feelings about the dentist

Making your baby’s first dental visit a success with Oak Tree Pediatric Dentistry

Now that you know all about your baby’s first dental visit, make an appointment with your Greenville, SC pediatric dentist today.

Oak Tree Pediatric Dentistry

Author Oak Tree Pediatric Dentistry

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