11 - 12 Months

Your baby’s 1st dentist visit

Baby brushing their teeth
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The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends starting regular dentist visits as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts and no later than their first birthday. 

According to a 2018 AAPD study, a child’s risk of having cavities at the first dental visit doubles for every year of increased age. Initiating checkups early may reveal some risk factors and help to prevent cavities. 

Another goal of your baby’s first visit is to help them feel comfortable going to the dentist. This will prove extremely helpful for the future, especially if they ever have a dental emergency.

What to expect during the first dentist appointment

  • The appointment should last no longer than 30 to 45 minutes. 
  • The dentist may ask to examine your child’s teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues to check growth and development.
  • Your child’s tooth or teeth may be given a gentle cleaning and demonstration of proper home cleaning techniques.
  • They probably won’t need X-rays at this point, unless the dentist is concerned about decay or a jammed baby tooth. 
  • You may receive helpful information on topics such as baby bottle tooth decay, feeding practices, teething, and mouth cleaning. You also may want to request information on pacifier or finger-sucking habits.

5 tips for a smooth visit

  1. Prepare your child ahead of time by telling them that a tooth expert will be looking in their mouth to see how nicely their teeth are growing in. 
  2. If possible, book a morning appointment so your child is well-rested and more cooperative.  
  3. If the dentist does ask to examine your child’s mouth and they’re nervous or have separation anxiety, ask if they can sit in your lap for the exam.
  4. Pack some snacks and plan something fun—like a trip to the park together—for when you are finished. 
  5. Get your child in the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day at home and give them a toothbrush to chew on and play with during supervised play.

Resources

Baker SD, Lee JY, Wright R. The Importance of the Age One Dental Visit. Chicago, IL: Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 2019.

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Posted in: 11 - 12 Months, Teething, Health, Lovevery App, Child Development

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