Scheduling that First Dental Visit

Scheduling that First Dental Visit
Posted on 10/13/2017
Baby brushing teeth

You have taken your child to see their physician, but what age is appropriate for your child to see the dentist? Your child should see Dr. Steckelberg by their first birthday. But, do they even have enough teeth at that age to make it worthwhile?  The short answer is, yes, absolutely!

The official guideline is that a child should see the dentist when the first tooth comes in, typically somewhere between six months old and one year of age. However, if your child is older than one, please don’t fret, just call us to get them scheduled as soon as possible.  We see patients of all ages!

To help your child have the best visit possible, Dr. Steckelberg does have some recommendations.

  • Schedule the appointment during your child’s happiest time of day; do not schedule during nap time or your child’s meal time.  For most young children, morning is the best time to schedule.
  • Make the first dental visit all about your child. If there are older siblings, leave them at home or daycare. This becomes a special bonding time and a better experience. Future visits are perfect to schedule along-side siblings.
  • Plan to arrive early. When parents are rushed on the way to the dentist (or anywhere), your child picks up on that stress. If you end up with some extra time in the office, we have books and toys for you to enjoy with your child.
  • Keep discussions about the visit simple. “Dr. Steckelberg is going to brush your teeth, take pictures and count your teeth.” Avoid promising what exactly will happen. If your child ends up needing treatment, they might lose trust in both the dentist and you.
  • Make sure to use positive words both before and while at the dental office. Negative words, such as: “it won’t hurt,” or “was that scary?” should be avoided. Young children don’t yet understand everything we say to them and tend to focus on the negative words.
  • The adult who brushes your child’s teeth should attend this appointment. If your child is less than three years old, this adult is the person who sits in the dental chair holding your child. This photograph shows the knee-to-knee examination positioning of the dentist, adult and child.

Baby with parent and dentist

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.  Happy Brushing!