First Time At The Dentist


Scheduling regular dentist appointments is a no-brainer for adults.

But when it comes to kids, do you know when they should have their first visit?

Mother of two Laura Alderman says she brought her children to their first dental visit when they were about a year old.

"Our pediatrician recommended and kept asking us if we had taken them in to the dentist at that point. So, they were already on our benefits so we figured might as well bring them in and have them taken a look at," Alderman said.

Dr. Dane Steffen says there’s no specific age guideline. Instead parents should pay attention to when their child’s teeth first grow in.

"That’s usually about three to six months of age. What we do is we check for normal growth and development and to see if teeth are coming in in the correct position," Steffen said.

That’s also the time you should begin using a toothbrush and toothpaste.

"So basically just a little swipe within the bristles itself, that way it’s hard to get out and if they swallow a small amount it’s usually not a big problem," Steffen said.

But if your child hasn’t grown teeth quite yet, you can still help them build good dental hygiene habits.

"We always encourage our parents to use either a wet wash cloth, or something like that to clean the gums to get them used to the habits of brushing," Steffen said.

You can expect the check-up to last between 20 and 30 minutes, and should schedule the second visit in about six months.

"The enamel is thinner on children’s primary teeth, so if they get a cavity it can be fairly devastating. The cavity progresses quickly and they can lose their teeth," Steffen said.

Which Steffen says can lead to pain, resulting in concentration problems in the classroom.

Alderman says because she started bringing her children in so early they’re at ease during their check-ups.

"It’s just building that relationship with them and I truly believe that building that relationship with them they actually got to trust them," Alderman said.

And before you go there may be one more visit, to the prize box.

For a list of ways to make dental hygiene fun for your child, click here.

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