How Often Should You Go to the Dentist? A Dental Visit Plan for Your Child

Your child should start to go to the dentist by the time the first tooth appears or his first birthday, whichever comes first. How often should you go to the dentist after that first appointment? Every six months? Once a year? Ideally, you should take your child to the dentist every six months. This may sound like a lot, but frequent visits are essential to the health of your child's developing teeth.

Protect Teeth from Decay

Regular visits allow your child's dentist to detect early signs of dental disease and decay. You may take excellent care of your child's teeth but still have problems for which you cannot see symptoms. A dentist can catch these early and treat the issue before it becomes a larger problem. Although parents sometimes think that baby teeth do not require extensive care because they will eventually fall out, remember that your child's permanent teeth grow directly beneath those baby teeth. Baby teeth help to guide permanent teeth into place and play an important role in your child's long-term dental health.

Ensure That Teeth Develop Correctly

A dentist will check your child's teeth to ensure that everything is developing correctly and that missing or crooked teeth are watched. Your dentist can also spot signs of a fluoride deficiency and recommend appropriate adjustments in your child's fluoride intake or application of a topical fluoride solution. A dentist will also explain and demonstrate proper brushing and flossing technique to you and your child.

Build Up a Comfort Level

Bringing your child to the dentist twice a year from an early age expedites acclimation to the dental office environment. It also builds up your child's comfort and confidence levels and reduces both your and your child's anxiety and fear about the dentist, leading to stress-free visits in the future.

Bringing your child to the dentist twice a year may seem unnecessary when your child's teeth look fine, but frequent visits serve many purposes. Above all, they teach your child the importance of lifelong healthy oral care habits.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Cleaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.