When should I take my child for their first dental visit?

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I get this question a lot from my friends with young kids, and it’s a great question. My official answer is…it depends.

Is this your first child and you are not sure what you should or should not be doing? Let’s talk around baby’s 1st birthday, or even when the first tooth erupts. This is really too young for a “cleaning” but it does allow your kid to be exposed to the office. This is mostly a consultation for mom or dad and me to answer any questions you have and for me to provide suggestions. I know all you guys have the best intentions if you’re reading this, but you don’t know what you don’t know. If there is something helpful that you are unaware of, this is our chance to teach you.

Do you already have a pretty good understanding of what you are doing? Or you’ve already raised some cavity free kids? 2 ½ – 3 is a good age range for us to meet your little toddler.

At the first visit we will do whatever your child will allow us to do. Ideally, that will involve cleaning the child’s teeth and placing fluoride. However, for some, all we do is have them sit on the chair (or even mom or dad’s lap on the chair) for a minute. The goal is to simply expose them to our office, and of course get an awesome new toy for good behavior! We are pretty lenient with our definition of good behavior at the first visit 😉 The more positive associations your child has with our office, each visit will become increasingly smoother, and we will be able to accomplish more.

If they have a cavity or another issue that needs to be treated, I will be happy to take care of whatever they need. I have a lot of fun treating kids and can be goofy enough to distract them from what we are actually doing. If they seem anxious or scared we will refer you to a pediatric dentist. It is important to avoid appointments that are traumatizing to a kid and could instill a dental fear. This can be an obstacle for many years to come. Depending on the treatment required or the anxiety of your child, we may refer you to an office catered to kids. However, most can be treated in our office without any issues.

Lastly, if you have any fear of the dentist yourself, pleeeeease do not let your kids know that! They are intuitive and will pick up on your hesitation. We will not do anything to hurt them and we will make it as fun as we can! I’ll be addressing adult fears in a future post, so stay tuned.

Give us a call today if you have any questions or are looking for peace of mind taking care of your kiddo’s teeth!

-Dr Kurt Rider, DMD



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