When is the right time to take my baby to a dentist?

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What is the best age to take your child to a dentist? It may be earlier than you think. Studies show that parents are not going early enough and that their delayed decision making is impacting the health of their child and their teeth.

What’s the right age?

According to the American Dental Association, your child’s first visit to a dentist should take place after their first tooth erupts but no later than their first birthday. There are parents who think that the health of their child’s first teeth are not important because those teeth eventually fall out. However, these so-called primary teeth are indeed important. They help children chew their food correctly and help them to properly pronounce words by providing a structure which is foundational for their speech.

“It is very important for us to start seeing kids from a really young age, really as early as one when they have their first teeth developing,” said Dr. Lela Farmer who heads up the practice at Scuba Smiles for Kids. “We see kids as young as 2 who have major cavities. My number one goal as a pediatric dentist is to prevent every child from ever having a cavity.”

Build healthy habits

Dr. Farmer brings up several great points. Your child can get cavities at any age – including with their primary teeth. Their visits to a dentist help children to build healthy oral hygiene habits and should reduce or eliminate any anxiety about seeing a dentist. Scuba Smiles for Kids is dedicated to help you and your child develop a plan to maintain healthy oral habits.

“We work very hard at Scuba Smiles for Kids to make sure that no child grows up with a deep fear of the dentist. We really take time with every single patient to show them everything that we’re going to do, make sure that what we’re doing is at their level of understanding,” explained Farmer. “The more often they come to see us, the more comfortable they get and confident they get.”

Best time to visit

If you’re concerned about bringing your child to a dentist, the American Dental Association is sharing tips to ensure they are comfortable for the exam.

  • Don’t schedule an appointment around the time they take naps. The best time to visit a dentist is when they’re alert and well-rested.
  • If it helps your child’s mood, give them a snack before they see the dentist. Their visit will be more pleasant if they’re not hungry.
  • Reassure them that this will be a fun experience. If you show that you’re happy or excited, there is an improved chance that your child will not be anxious about their visit to a dentist.