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When Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

small child in dental chair showing when should a child go to the dentist

When should a child go to the dentist? The answer to that question depends on several factors, such as the child’s age, condition of their teeth, or if they require emergency dental services. Under normal circumstances, it's recommended that you take your child to the dentist by age one.

However, most children do not visit a pediatric dentist until after they are two years old. The longer they spend without making the initial visit, the more problems build up in their teeth early on. This is why taking them to the dentist as soon as possible is a better option. When should a child go to the dentist and visit Lovett Dental? Let’s take a closer look at this question below.

What Happens in the First Year of Oral Development?

Most babies develop teeth between six and twelve months. While most of these teeth will fall out by the time they are twelve, they form the basis of how well a child’s teeth, gums, and jawbone will form well into adulthood. In the first year of development, the incisors (front teeth) start to form.

During this critical stage, plaque starts to build on the teeth almost immediately. While brushing the teeth is important, you should also consider adding fluoride to your child’s diet and seeing the dentist by the 12th month. A dentist can perform an oral exam and identify any problem early on.

The Importance of Caring for the Primary Teeth

Parents may avoid taking their child to a local dentist for several reasons, such as assuming that they are too young or don’t have enough teeth. Other parents may not have dental insurance to cover dental costs. However, the AAPD recommends taking your child to the dentist within the first year for the following reasons including:

  • The dentist can help your child chew properly.
  • The first visit can help you establish good nutrition.
  • You can identify if there are any potential speech problems.
  • Ongoing visits can help you save space for permanent teeth.
  • Promoting a healthy smile early on is good for self-esteem.

The first few years of dental care are vital for lifelong oral health. What you do immediately after the first year can set the tone for your child’s oral health for many years to come. When should a child go to the dentist? The answer to that question is easily around year one when both parents and children can learn how to take care of their teeth.

Why Young Children Hate Going to the Dentist

It’s bad enough that adults despise going to the dentist. Children can be even worse. The main reason for this is that the experience new to them, and they haven’t learned how to cope with their fears. Children can easily become intimidated by advanced dental tools, adults standing over them, and foreign objects inserted into their mouths.

However, the earlier you take your child to the dentist for a comprehensive oral exam, the more likely they are to become less anxious by the time they figure out what is really going on. Here are some tips for calming your child’s jitters about dental work, such as:

  • Take your child as early as possible – within the first year.
  • Let your child go with you when you get dental work done.
  • Teach your child about the benefits of dental work.
  • Play “dentist” at home, using toy dental objects.
  • Don’t make a big deal about going yourself.
  • Don’t rush the experience.

Also, consider rewarding your child for going to the dentist. The motivation of getting a reward may overshadow their fears of the experience.

Learn More at Lovett Dental

When should a child go to the dentist? Find out the answers to this question at Lovett Dental by calling 832-804-7427. We offer comprehensive child dental services for all types of dental needs. To find out more about options available, contact any of our locations throughout Texas.