When should I take my child for their first dental visit?
Dr. Glenn Rutherford's first dental visit: I still remember my first dental visit. I was five and my parents took me to see their elderly dentist. He glanced in my mouth and said all was well. By next check up time he had retired. My new dentist found a mouth full of cavities (which had probably been there six months before). It seemed as though a lot of dentists looked on kids as an annoyance or didn't want to deal with less than perfectly cooperative patients.
That was half a century ago, and an awful lot has changed! Instead of age 5 or 6 as a recommended first dental visit, most dentists now recommend age two. That is, of course, if everything appears perfectly healthy. If you see any problem or your child has any trauma to the mouth, they should see a dentist immediately. The youngest child I ever treated was 9 months old.
The reason for the age two recommendation is the fact that 40% of two year olds have at least one cavity. Brushing your child's teeth at least once a day and daily fluoride supplementation along with sweets and soda pop consumption only at meal time (or not at all) can make sure that your child is not among that 40%.
Of course at age two you can't expect your child to behave like a little angel at the dental office at this pre-cooperative age, children are often reluctant or even fearful in new situations. Don't worry, your dentist sees all kinds of behavior and your child won't be the first to pitch a fit in the office!
Many things can be done to make your child's first visit fun. Our kids play In the castle, while waiting for their exam. When we can drag them from the castle, they come back and begin watching videos in the exam room. Kirby the chimpanzee shows them how to brush and floss. Buddy and Andy, the Jack Russell Terriers, enact a first dental visit with great dialog. All in all, a surprising number of two year olds are little angels at their first dental visit.