New parents are instructed on when babies need vaccines and what milestones they should be reaching by certain ages, but do you know when a baby should first see the dentist?  It might shock you to know that it is suggested that you take you little one in as early as when the first tooth pops through, or at least by his or her first birthday.

Why so early?

Going to the dentist at a young age gets them used to it and is helpful for parents because you learn how to properly care for an infant’s mouth.  Dental hygiene for an infant is a bit different than for an adult, though is basically the same.  Early appointments also help to identify any problems that need to be cared for immediately and catch future problems before they resolve.  Lots of kids do have cavities before they go into school around age four or five, and it is not too uncommon for kids as young as two to develop cavities.

Preventing early Cavities

The dentist tell you if there is any reason that you child may be at risk of dental problems in the future and what you can do to combat those problems.  Aside from the normal hygiene talk, the dentist will also talk with you about diet and exercise as these are both important to young bodies.  You will learn more about why fluoride is important in children, and you will have the chance to discuss with your dentist a follow-up schedule that is set according to your child’s specific needs.

Catching problems before they bloom

Other problems include thumb or finger sucking, pacifiers, bottles and the rot that they can cause, accidents, and teething.  The dentist can help you understand the teething process and how to make it easier on the baby, as well as go over any emergency information that you would need in case of a dental emergency caused by an accident.  You will also learn about tracking milestones of dental development to identify any potential issues for the dentist.

Parents are too often worried that their babies will be too fussy in an early dental visit, but some are very comfortable and enjoy getting to see different things and meet smiling faces.  If you as a parent have a fear of dentists, keep in mind that you want your child to feel more comfortable, so get him or her used to the dentist early to avoid that fear.  Who knows, maybe you will learn how to relax in the dentist chair yourself.