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When Should You Make Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment?

When Should You Make Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment?

The teething phase of your little one’s life may be so fraught with tears and Tylenol that you can’t think of anything but helping your baby feel better. But once that first tiny tooth makes an appearance, it’s time to start planning a trip to the dentist. 

In this blog, our dentists at Rifkin Dental in Carmel and Yorktown Heights, New York, walk you through the finer details of your baby’s first dental appointment. 

When to make your child’s first dental appointment

It may seem early to schedule a dental appointment for your child anytime before their permanent adult teeth come in, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) both recommend your baby see a dentist within six months of cutting their first tooth. 

Bringing your child in as soon as possible allows us to catch problems in their earliest stages, gives you a chance to ask questions, and gets your child used to the dentist’s office. 

You may consider coming in even earlier if your child is already showing signs of an oral health problem or if they have certain risk factors for early tooth decay, such as a family history of cavities or a habit of falling asleep with a bottle. 

Choosing your child’s dentist

You have many choices when looking for a dentist, but the list is much shorter for your child. You shouldn’t take them to just any dentist, but a dentist specially trained to handle young children. 

Our pediatric dentists have the expertise necessary to address the oral health problems unique to children — and do it while they fuss, cry, and squirm. 

What to expect at their first appointment

Your baby’s first dentist appointment should be their easiest. We take a moment to greet your little one and get to know you and your family before having a look at their teeth. We count their teeth and examine their lips, tongue, gums, and cheeks.

You’re welcome (and encouraged) to stay in the room with your baby. We may even need you to hold them on your lap to keep them comfortable. 

After a brief examination, we open the floor for questions and concerns. You can talk to us about anything to do with your child’s oral health, including teething, best oral hygiene practices, pacifier use, feeding, thumb sucking, and so on. 

Feel free to bring a list of questions for discussion — we’re happy to spend extra time with you to make sure you leave our office equipped to handle your baby’s changing oral health needs. 

How to make their first appointment their best

We’re all about putting the best foot forward, especially for our youngest patients. If you or your child are feeling nervous about their upcoming appointment, consider these simple strategies:

Above all, it’s important that you remain calm. Babies and toddlers are more sensitive to adults’ feelings and emotions than we often give them credit for. The more positive you are about the dentist, the easier they’ll find the experience. 

Beyond their first appointment

Once you’ve gotten the first appointment under your belt, you should expect to see us every six months moving forward until your child becomes an adult and takes their oral health into their own hands. 

Always call us for an appointment at the first sign of pain, cavities, damage, and other problems. 

Is it time to get your child in to see us? We’d love to talk with you and get something on our calendar. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone today at our Rifkin Dental location closest to you.

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