When should I bring my child in to the dentist for the first time?

| July 25, 2009

I have been asked by several family members, “when should I take my child to the dentist?” I was kind of surprised because I assumed everyone knew.

Being a mother of two daughters, they both reacted differently in the chair.  Paige is my oldest and she had her visit at 2 years old. She did great and even let us do fluoride. Morgan my high maintenance child, she would only allow her teeth to be counted. When we came back at 2 1/2 she did great and every time she comes to the office for anything, she wants her teeth cleaned.

Every child reacts differently in the chair.  As parents we need to have certain expectations for the first visit too. The technique that we use is show, tell, do. So we show them what we’re going to do, then tell them, and then actually do.  That way they can see what’s going on before we even touch their teeth.

Kay one of our hygienists that has worked in pediatric dentistry, suggests age 3 is usually the best age. A couple tips that she suggests are to

  • schedule morning appointments.
  • Don’t schedule anything around nap time.
  • If they can sit for a haircut they are ready
  • When they get their baby teeth start brushing with fluoridated toothpaste. Use just smaller than a pea size amount. It’s OK if they swallow some. It takes a lot to cause any harm.

So the rule of thumb is 3 years old is the best age for a first visit, but if you concerns bring them in so that they can be addressed.