When is it important to bring your child to the dentist for the very first time? You may hear different answers based on who you ask, but the official word is that children should begin to visit a dentist starting at the age of 1, or 2 years old if he or she has transitioned to drinking from a cup and does not have a drink or snack during the middle of the night.

Getting Comfortable

The main reason to take your child in to see a dental professional at 1 or 2 years old, is to get him or her comfortable with seeing someone new and the whole process of having a dental exam. At this age, it is highly unlikely that anything further than a basic cleaning and counting of teeth will need to be conducted. If you have a reason to suspect any dental issues, then you should mention it right away to the child’s dentist. You will want to find a family-friendly office, or one which specializes in treating children.

Otherwise, the first time is about educating parents on how to care for their children’s teeth. You should have an overview on how to brush their teeth, begin to show your child good brushing habits, and find out how to floss properly.

A Good Atmosphere

It is crucial that the office you bring you child to has a calming and even fun atmosphere. This will show him or her that the dentist’s office is not someplace of which he or she should be afraid. The waiting room should have some games, an activity table, as well as some books and little toys. Your child is sure to feel more at ease in such a place. Some offices that are specifically geared towards child patients will have a themed room for dental examinations, decorated like a castle or something else many children will love.

There are many offices that make it a point to avoid using “negative speak” about dental treatments and procedures. The staff focus on keeping the child calm, while still making the family aware of what they are doing and the recommended next steps.

What to Expect in Later Years

A child will not usually have an orthodontic exam until he or she is at least about 5 years old. The orthodontist will look at his or her teeth and their placement in relation to one another, to determine if any corrective measures should be taken. If a child has gaps between teeth or they are misaligned, it is likely that a retainer will be recommended. The orthodontist should be able to tell you if the child will need braces at some point in the future.