At What Age Should Children Begin Going to The Dentist

At What Age Should Children Begin Going to The Dentist?

Team Children Pediatric Dentistry

Whether you are expecting a child or have a young child in your home already, you might be wondering when you need to take them to the dentist for the first time. This is a common question among new parents that many don't start to think about until their baby gets their first tooth.

When Should You First Take Your Child to the Dentist?

Ideally, your child's first dental visit should mainly be to help them feel comfortable with the dentist and at the dental office. Dental professionals recommend that the first dental visit be completed at 12 months of age or within six months of the first tooth erupting.

What to Expect During Your Child's First Dental Visit

Typically, the first lasts 30 to 45 minutes. Depending on how old your child is, the dental visit may include a complete exam of the teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues to check growth and development. If required, your child may also have a gentle cleaning, including polishing their teeth and removing any plaque, tartar, and stains. 

The dentist may also demonstrate proper home dental hygiene, such as flossing, and discuss the need for fluoride. The pediatric dentist may recommend X-rays, depending on your child's age. X-rays are used to detect decay and see if the root of a jammed primary tooth may be preventing an adult tooth from coming in. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Children's Dentistry

How Safe are Dental X-Rays?

Thanks to innovative modern safeguards, such as lead aprons and high-speed film, the amount of radiation exposure in a dental X-ray is extremely small. Even though there is very minimal risk, with pediatric dental x-rays, pediatric dentists are especially careful about reducing the exposure of child patients to radiation. In fact, the exposure and risk are so low that dental X-rays represent a far smaller health risk than an undiagnosed and untreated dental issue.

If My Child Gets a Cavity in a Baby Tooth, Should It Still be Filled?

While primary, or "baby," teeth may not seem that important in the grand scheme of your child's life, they are necessary for many reasons. They help your child chew naturally and speak clearly. They also help in forming a pathway that permanent teeth will follow when they are ready to come in. Some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or even longer. 

When baby teeth are neglected, your child may experience pain, infection of the gums and jaws, problems with general health, and premature loss of teeth. Additionally, since tooth decay is really an infection that can spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth goes a long way in enhancing the dental and overall health of your child. If you believe your child has a cavity or another dental issue, you should have them see their dentist right away to help mitigate any problems. If your child has a cavity, the dentist may recommend a filling, even if it's in a baby tooth.

Learn More About Pediatric Dentistry at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry

At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, we are happy to partner with you to provide excellent dental care for your child. Whether it's a routine dental visit, a question or concern, or an after-hours dental emergency, we are here for your family.

To learn more about our pediatric dental services in ABQ, contact us at 505-888-3520.