When to Start Going to the Dentist
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Happy baby with ball

Did you know that children’s teeth begin forming before birth? As early as four months, the first primary, or baby, teeth, erupt through the gums. Knowing that, when is the best time to get the dentist involved? The answer is as soon as the first tooth appears. At this time, begin brushing your child's teeth daily and schedule a dental appointment. In most cases, children should visit the dentist by their first birthday.

Ask friends and family and select a dentist in your area who likes children and takes care of them regularly. The first relationship your child has with a dentist can leave a lasting impression.

How Can I Prepare My Child for the First Dental Visit?

You can make your child's first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. Tell your child in advance that someone will look at their teeth and clean them. Try showing them pictures of a dentist or have fun role-playing, acting like you or your child are the dentist. Most dentists prefer that a parent be present for the examination of any child under the age of three. Some ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold the young patient in their lap during the first few examinations. It can also be helpful to take your younger children along for an older sibling’s dental visit so that they can get accustomed to the office and the people. As children get older, they’re usually happy to be “grown up” and are willing to sit in the chair alone while they send their parents back to the waiting room. At the first visit, your dental professional will examine your child’s mouth for early signs of decay and other problems. He or she will also tell you many of the things you’ll need to know about helping your child grow up cavity-free. After the first visit, be sure your child sees the dentist regularly.