At What Age Should My Child Go to the Dentist?

Dental care is important not just for an individual’s oral health but for overall health. One of the best ways to ensure that you maintain good oral health is by visiting a dentist. Most parents wonder when they should take their kids to the dentist for the first time. 

 

The best time for the first visit may be much earlier than you imagined. You do not have to wait until most of the teeth have come in. Dental experts agree that you should make the first dental appointment before your child reaches their first birthday. 

 

The First Dental Visit


 

The first visit to the dentist is mostly about checking the baby's teeth and learning how to take care of them. The visit will also allow the child to start to get used to the dental clinic environment and the dentist’s chair. This can help to make subsequent visits much easier. 

 

Some children stop using the bottle and move to a cup before their first birthday. Some kids do not wake up in the middle of the night to drink or snack. If this is the case with your baby, you can wait until the second year to schedule the first visit. 

 

‘Every Six Months’ Visits


 

After the initial visit, dentists recommend scheduling visits every six months. The visits will allow the dentist to see how the teeth are developing. Between the ages of four and six years, the dentist will take X-rays to check for issues, such as cavities. 

 

Kids are not so diligent about oral care at this stage, and your child may have cavities between the teeth. During the visits, your child can benefit from professional teeth cleaning. 

 

Eruption of Permanent Teeth


 

Between the ages of six and 12, dental visits are mostly about prevention. At this stage, the baby teeth are giving way to the permanent teeth. This means that the child is going to have several missing and loose teeth at any given time. 

 

The dentist may suggest using a sealant to protect the permanent teeth. The plastic resin bonds on the chewing surface and helps to prevent cavities. The resin can keep harmful bacteria from reaching the teeth grooves. 

 

Orthodontic Evaluation


 

At around seven years, the dentist may suggest that the child gets an orthodontic evaluation. The evaluation can help to identify skeletal issues that can result in crooked teeth. In most cases, the child will wait until the early teens to get braces. 

 

It is, however, important to find out how the jaw is growing. Identifying issues early enough will help ensure that the child will benefit from a beautiful smile later on.

 

Adjusting to Dental Care


 

Most people will admit that going to the dentist is not much fun. This is due to the pain that is associated with most dental procedures. Taking children to the dentist when they are still young will help them get used to the atmosphere. 

 

It can help to reduce the fears associated with visiting the dentist as they grow up. Pediatric dentists have special training that allows them to handle young patients effectively and ensure their comfort.


 

For more information on children's dentistry, visit Robert A. Rees, DDS, at our office in La Jolla, California. You can call 858-454-6181 today to schedule an appointment. 

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