The First Dentist Visit: How Old Should My Child Be?

First Dentist Visit At What Age - a smiling young baby chews on a toothbrush.
With teeth erupting soon after birth – what age is appropriate for a baby’s first dentist visit?

Kids get baby teeth from a very early age. This means there are plenty of questions about when is the best time to take a child to the dentist. How old should your child be before their first dentist visit? Is there a best age for their first dentist visit? The answer might surprise you, and is earlier than you might think.

The Australian Dental Association recommends that

Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be within six months of the eruption of their first tooth, or by their first birthday.

So the general rule is that the best time to take your child for their first dentist visit – is soon after a first tooth erupts and definitely before their first birthday!

What Happens At The First Dentist Visit?

Your child’s first dentist visit should ideally be about prevention. Don’t wait for a problem to develop! Dentists can see your child at their first dentist visit and

  1. Look at any teeth that are thought to make sure they are healthy and strong. Dentists can look for any early signs of decay – and give advice on simple steps to stop holes before they form!
  2. Dentists know what types of diet, brushing, and fluoride advice to give you and your child to keep their mouth healthy
  3. Dentists can look at your child’s jaws and face to make sure they are growing properly and are aligned well
  4. Just simply make sure there are not any problems

How To Prepare For A First Dentist Visit?

  • Read a story book with your child (Dora, Peppa Pig and others have some wonderful stories available about trips to the dentist)
  • Play ‘pretend dentist’ at home – practice counting teeth!
  • Be open with the dentist about any concerns or worries that you might have
  • DON’T talk about things that are scary. DON’T project your fears on the child. Don’t mention needles, drills, pain. DON’T say frightening phrases like “The dentist won’t hurt you.” Just keep it relaxed, treat it like a visit to the supermarket or a park.

Some Good International Resources For First Dentist Visits

  • Check out the Australian Dental Association’s Baby Teeth website for more advice about baby teeth and first dentist visits.
  • The American Dental Associations has their baby teeth section on the Mouth Healthy website which states that “The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months after the first tooth comes in and no later than the first birthday.”
  • The Canadian Dental Associations states that “The Canadian Dental Association recommends the assessment of infants, by a dentist, within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age.” This is discussed on their first dental visit age website for toddlers.

 

If you have any questions about first dentist visits and baby teeth, please comment below.

About Kit

Dr Kit is an Aussie dentist who likes to talk teeth. From root canals to toothbrushing, veneers to flossing – teeth are fascinating and worth talking about! If you have a question about the mouth you'd like answered - submit it!

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