Richard Warner, D.D.S.
Warner Family Dentistry in Council Bluffs
Richard Warner, D.D.S. General Dentistry in Council Bluffs, Iowa
There are several different theories on when to take your child for their first dental visit. Traditionally it was thought somewhere around age three was opimal, but in recent years pediactic dental specialists have been suggesting the first visit be done by age one.
No, your nine month old... or even two year old... isn't likely to hop into the chair, open wide, and let the dentist or hygienist go to work. The trend toward earlier initial visits is more for the benefit of the parent. The dental staff can assess the risk of cavities in the family history and make suggestions. In the rare event there is decay it can be caught very early.
If the child is age three or so at the first visit we typically think of it as a great time to get them used to the dental office. We call it a happy visit, and most of the time is spent with an assistant or hygienist showing them the tools, how things work, and so forth. They may be apprehensive but after seeing for themselves that the office isn't really all that scary the subsequent visits usually go quite well. In the event we do see problems a young child will be referred to a pediatric dentist.
This would seem to be obvious, but we'll mention it anyway because it is important... don't scare your kids! If you speak of a dental office as a fearful place to spend some time, don't be surprised when they show the same attitude. Not only does this give your kids needless fear, if they are really terrified it may be necessary to have their dental work done in a hospital setting, with all the costs and risks of general anesthesia!
Dental Tips for Kids
Click the arrow to hear some ideas heading young children down the right path for early dental health from our hygienists Stacy Underwood and Laura Ranney.
Click the arrow to hear Karen's advice about your child's first dental visit.
Visit the American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy Kids site for more great information!