Dental care is essential and even more important to start at a young age. While most people don’t think about dental care for their toddlers, creating healthy dental habits and protecting your child’s baby teeth can lead to a happier, healthier smile down the road. But at what age should your child have their first dental cleaning? And what should you expect when visiting the dentist with your toddler? We provide a guide for you to follow when making decisions about your kid’s teeth cleaning.
When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Cleaning?
The recommended time for visiting the dentist with a toddler is around 12 months or about six months after their first tooth comes in. By visiting the dentist early, you can teach your child that the dentist’s office is nothing to be scared about. Visiting the dentist early also allows them to catch potential problems early on, like baby bottle tooth decay, pacifier habits, and teeth shifting from finger sucking.
How to Prepare for Your Child’s First Cleaning
Before bringing your child to the dentist, the first thing to do is, to be honest with yourself about your dental concerns. If you are anxious at the dentist, your child may pick up on this. Try talking with your dental team about any concerns you may have before your child comes to visit, and be aware that a healthy relationship with dental care can help prevent dental anxiety in your child down the line.
Most early dental visits are for simple cleanings and are more about getting your child used to visit the dentist than they are about treating any concerns. But, of course, your dental team will discuss any potential dental problems they may notice or possible treatments your child may need.
What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dental Cleaning
Your dental team will examine your child’s mouth, although most dentists avoid x-rays for young children unless necessary. The dental team may gently clean your child’s teeth to remove any tartar, plaque, or other dental concerns, but for the most part, this first visit is to get your child comfortable with the dentist. Since baby teeth are not permanent, it is unlikely that your dentist will order x-rays or have any cavities to fill, though there are extreme cases where exceptions are made.
If your child is overly anxious or you have a child with special needs, mild sedatives are a viable option for routine dental treatment. However, most dentists work hard to foster a welcoming environment for children of all ages and hope to provide treatment without sedation. If you think your child is a good fit for pediatric sedation dentistry, call your dental office in advance to discuss options.
Here at Southbridge Dentistry, we aim to create a welcoming environment for dental patients of all ages. In addition, we work closely with parents to help alleviate stress and make childhood dental visits more accessible than ever. If you have any questions about your child’s first dental cleaning or want to set up an appointment, call our office at (303) 798-4967.