When should I schedule my child’s first appointment?

The American Dental Association recommends bringing your child for a quick visit somewhere around their first birthday; this first visit typically lasts 15-30 minutes.  This will be a fun experience for your child (riding up and down in the chair, etc.) and gives us a chance to check your child’s oral development.

Your child’s baby (primary) teeth are very important.  Healthy baby teeth help your child chew easily, speak clearly and develop a positive self-image.  Infections and broken teeth can seriously affect your child’s health as well.

Baby teeth also play a critical role in maintaining the appropriate spacing within  your child’s mouth.  If a baby tooth falls out before the permanent tooth is ready to break through the gums, the adjacent teeth may tilt toward the empty space or shift into the gap.  This could result in the permanent teeth coming in crooked, requiring orthodontic treatment.

What happens during the first visit?

We will examine your child’s teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues.  During one of the early visits, we may also take X-rays of your child’s mouth to make sure the teeth that have not yet broken through the gums are developing properly, and that there are no signs of hidden decay.  At an early appointment, we will try to clean the teeth, removing plaque, tartar and stains.  Your child’s dentist will also discuss preventative care and how to keep your child’s teeth healthy – hopefully for a lifetime.  We will teach you how to properly clean your child’s teeth, analyze detrimental habits such as thumb sucking and pacifiers, and make sure your child is getting the appropriate amount of fluoride.