When Does My Child Need to Start Seeing a Family Dentist?

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Establishing good dental care habits starts in childhood, but many new parents may not be certain about how old their child should be when they have their first dental visit. The team at Advanced Dentistry of Centre County can help families in the State College, PA area ensure their children’s oral health is in good shape by scheduling routine visits and cleanings on a regular basis. Learn more about when these visits should begin and how best to prepare your child to start seeing a family dentist.

First dental visit is recommended within 6 -12 months

Most experts recommend scheduling your child’s first pediatric dental visit within six months of their first tooth coming in and no later than 12 months of age. If you’re not sure about when your child should start seeing a pediatric dentist, check with your child’s pediatrician to see what they recommend. State College, PA area parents who are uncertain about when to schedule this visit can contact the team at Advanced Dentistry of Centre County for more guidance.

What happens in their first dental visit?

An initial dental visit for your child is designed to give you more information about your child’s dental health, as well as getting youngsters used to dental visits. Your child’s dentist can help you understand issues like teething, pacifier habits, finger-sucking habits, infant feeding, and how these areas can affect your child’s dental health. This visit can also help your child become accustomed to having people look inside their mouths. Depending on what your dentist recommends, your child may undergo X-rays, though this often isn’t done because baby teeth will fall out anyway. Typically, your child’s first pediatric dental visits will last 30 – 45 minutes.

When to begin routine family dental care

Like older children and adults, babies and toddlers should see a dentist every six months. If your child shows signs of dental anxiety or fear, our team may recommend having visits more often than six months to make the child more comfortable with dental care. Families that have a genetic predisposition to dental development issues may also want to schedule more frequent visits so the dental team can keep an eye out for problems.

Tips for building good home dental care habits

Having regular dental visits is necessary for people of all ages, including babies, toddlers, children, teens, and adults, but professional dental care is not a substitute for healthy home habits. Starting these routines early can help ensure your baby or toddler has strong dental health throughout their lives. Here are our best tips for caring for your child’s teeth at home and building healthy habits:

  • When your child’s first baby tooth appears, brush it gently with a tiny amount of toothpaste, and after about age three, you can begin using a small amount of toothpaste with fluoride so long as your child is able to spit it out after brushing.

  • Limit bottle time, as prolonged bottle and pacifier use can negatively impact the natural development of a child’s teeth.

  • Until your child is 7 or 8 years old, be sure you are there to help them brush their teeth twice a day, spotting areas they may have missed.

  • Model good dental hygiene by ensuring all adults and older children brush and floss regularly.

  • Limit your child’s access to sugary foods and drinks, including packaged juices, which can have high sugar content. This will help prevent tooth decay.

Start good habits early by scheduling your child’s first dental visit

Most babies should begin regular dental visits before they turn one, and the team at Advanced Dentistry of Centre County can help parents and families start their child’s dental health journey off on the best foot. Contact our State College, PA office to schedule your child’s first dental visit, and let our team of professionals provide gentle care that will help you ensure your young child’s oral health is solid.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.