The First Dental VIsit
The first dental visit typically should be no later than two years of age. In some communities, however, tooth decay occurs much earlier. For these children, the first visit should be no later than twelve months of age. Beginning dental visits no later than age two provides so many benefits for both the child and his or her parent. A dental home is established, and the parent already has a relationship with a dentist should a dental emergency occur. The child has the opportunity to become familiar with the dental staff and dentist, the dental chair, the instruments used for examination, and some procedures such as a cleaning and examination. Finally, should decay be found, early diagnosis may permit treatment that does not require the use of an injection or drill.
The first visit provides the opportunity for a consultation and discussion in many areas regarding your child’s dental care such as:
- A decay (caries) risk assessment assists in predicting your child’s risk for decay or need for fluoride supplementation. Some of the areas included are:
- Family history of decay: The parents’ dental history may play a strong role in the child’s decay experience, especially mother to daughter.
- Quality of the enamel: Is it shiny or pitted and flat in appearance?
- The chewing surfaces of the primary molars: Are they flat or have deep pits and fissures?
- Exposure to sugary medicines
- Use of the bottle or sippy cup
- Presence of decay
- Oral hygiene
- Fluoride exposure
- A preventive care program tailored specifically for your child
- Discussion of pediatric oral trauma
- Discussion of finger/thumb or pacifier habits
- Evaluation of the child’s bite and possible future need for orthodontic treatment
- Examination for pathology, missing teeth or extra teeth.
Your child's first dental visit will be not only worthwhile, but also an enjoyable experience for both you and your precious little one!