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The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as well as the American Dental Association recommends taking your child to the dentist before their first birthday. This visit helps you to find out how your child is doing, to help you know how to care for your child’s developing teeth, and to help your child feel comfortable seeing the dentist.

Baby teeth are in the mouth when a child is born, all 20 of them, hidden in the gums. Ten on top, and ten on bottom. They usually start emerging between six and twelve months. Generally, by the time they are three all twenty have erupted in the mouth.

Your child’s first visit is mainly to introduce them to what it is like to go to the dentist, assess their oral health, and build trust with the dental team. The length of the visit can be from 15-30 minutes. The goal is to give your child a pleasant first experience at the dentist office, so that they will not be afraid of future visits.

At the first visit, you may learn how to care for your child’s developing mouth, how to use fluoride properly, how to handle your child’s oral habits such as thumb sucking, how to help during teething, how your child is progressing in terms of development, how to avoid accidents that could harm your child’s teeth, and how to use diet to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Your dentist will gently check your child’s teeth, jaw, gums, and bite to make sure development is progressing, and to make sure there are no problems. A gentle cleaning may be done if needed. X-rays may be also taken. You will be shown how to clean your child’s teeth at home and check to see if fluoride is needed. This is a good time to ask any home care questions you may have about your child’s oral health. It is advisable to schedule the visit in the morning if possible, to minimize your child’s tiredness so they may feel calm and cooperative, making it a happier experience for all!

It is never too early to help your child develop healthy oral habits for a lifetime of smiles! Please call the HP Dental team at 479-756-8631 if you have any questions or concerns.