While there is a good chance that your toddler has been visiting her pediatrician regularly since the time that she was born, it is possible that she has not yet had her first visit to the dentist. There is no iron clad rule about when a toddler’s first visit to the dentist has to happen because each child’s teeth come in on their own unique schedule. A generally accepted timetable for a child’s first trip to the dentist is within six months of getting her first tooth, or by one year of age at the latest.
There are many reasons why it is important to take toddlers to the dentist, even though they may only have a few teeth by the time of their first visit. Building a good relationship with the dentist through positive (and relatively non – invasive) interactions during those first few visits can help your child to relax during subsequent dental checkups and cleanings. Also, while you are the one who helps your child brush her teeth every day, the dentist can offer helpful tips and reinforce your messages about why brushing is important. Early dental checkups are also a good time to discuss any concerns that you have about things like lip ties, overbites, underbites, pacifiers, thumb sucking, or just about anything else mouth related.
Whether you opt to have your child see a pediatric dentist or your own dentist (provided that he or she is experienced with children and sees young patients) is completely up to you. Both can provide excellent care for your child. Your attitude towards going to the dentist is also very important. If you seem apprehensive about it, your toddler will pick up on that and may start to feel anxious. Even if you shudder at the sight of a dentist chair, do your best to stay calm and talk about the experience in a positive way. Children often like meeting new people, seeing new places, and learning new things. You know your child best, so follow your instincts when deciding how to prepare her for her first visit to the dentist.