What age should I bring my child to the dentist?

Children should start visiting the dentist soon after their teeth begin appearing. Many children are ready to see the dentist between 2 and 3 years old. Even if there are no issues that can be seen, the lifelong habit should be started early.

What will happen on the first visit?

On the first visit, the hygienist and dentist will count the teeth, check for cavities, clean the teeth and gums and introduce healthy habits. This is a time for parents to ask questions and understand about no bottles in bed, no soda or sugar juices, brushing twice a day and using kid’s flossers. X-rays have become very easy and normally can be taken as early as 4 or 5 years old.

What type of toothpaste should I use for my toddler?

Before 18 months, parents can use a soft washcloth to clean teeth and gums. Between 18 months and 3 years of age it is recommended to use a training toothpaste, or low-fluoride toothpaste. After 3 years old, when they can rinse and spit, they are ready for a fluoride child’s toothpaste.

What can I do to make the first visit easy for my child?

Don’t use scary words or joke that “the dentist will pull all of your teeth.” Refrain from telling stories when you had a bad experience, dentistry has come a long way- comfortable x-rays, cushy chairs with warm blankets, dentists that really care about how you feel.

Schedule your child’s appointment as a standalone visit, don’t schedule after yours. They will not do well after waiting for over an hour, and hearing about their parent’s issues can be scary- gum grafting, extractions, implants, etc.

If your child does need work to be done there are options to ask your dentist about. Oral medications are available and designed for children to make them a little sleepy just for the visit and fine the rest of the day.

Thought of more questions? Please contact our office and we will be here to help!


Angela Collins, MHA