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When Should A Child See A Dentist For The First Time?

As exciting as it is to see your child’s first tooth come in, many first-time parents don’t know when is the best time to take their child to see a pediatric dentist. Some parents believe that the first appointment should be well after a child has had several teeth come in while others wait as late as a child’s pre-school or kindergarten years. But the truth of the matter is, parents should take their children to see the dentist earlier than they think.

Normally, many first-time moms and dads took their child to see the dentist for the first time at or around the age of 3. Yet, health experts say that parents should think about making that first appointment much earlier, at around the age of 1. It might seem too early for some parents, given the fact that a tot only has a few teeth in, but there’s a good reason for it. This is mostly because bad habits can begin at very early stages and the long-term damage can be devastating. What’s more, a child who doesn’t get the proper preventive dental care early on can face psychological challenges.

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Many health experts would agree that the earlier your child sees the dentist, the more time and money parents will end up saving down the road.

Credit: iStock / boggy22

According to Romper, Dr. Mark Burhenne, a family and sleep medicine dentist, says that parents shouldn’t expect to spend no more than 15 to 30 minutes with their child at their first dentist’s appointment. This is mostly so your child’s pediatric dentist can examine, "your child’s teeth, gums, jaw, oral tissues, and bite to ensure everything is properly forming and coming into place."

Your child’s first dentist appointment might not only be stressful for you, but for your tot as well, especially since he or she won’t know what to expect the first time around. Many dental and health experts suggest that you bring a few items that will help comfort your child the first time around. It can be a coloring book with crayons, a child’s favorite toy or even a small handheld device in order to distract your child while the dentist or oral hygienist is examining their teeth.

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In addition, the dentist might also clean your child’s teeth if necessary and give you proper instructions on how to maintain proper oral health at home and in the future. In other words, don’t hesitate to make that first appointment. Both you and your child will benefit in the long run.

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