When should my child first see the dentist?

Welcome to our "Frequestly Asked Questions" series.

People often have questions about their teeth and we hope to answer some of those questions with this new series. If you have a dental related question, please post a comment or send an email through our Contact Us form. Our first question comes from one of our FaceBook friends.

When should my child first see a dentist?

The timing of the first visit to the dentist is a little controversial. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that children should see a dentist when they get their first tooth and not later than 1 year of age. In contrast, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, unless your child has risk factors for having problems with his teeth, such as sleeping with a cup or bottle, teeth staining, thumb sucking, etc., the first visit to the dentist should be by around the third birthday.

However, an early visit to the dentist is a good way for parents to learn proper oral hygiene for their children including avoiding nighttime bottles or cups of formula or juice, proper tooth brushing, and a diet that promotes good dental health. We recommend seeing children as soon as they are old enough to sit in the dental chair and hold their mouth open. However, even children younger then that are welcome to sit on their parents lap, for a short time, in the room at their parent's teeth cleaning appoinment. This helps your child become used to Dr. Zimmerman and our hygienists, as well as, help make thier first dental appoinment feel familiar.

The initial appointment in our office will include different things depending on the reason your child is seeing us and if it is their very first dental appointment. It is our desire to that your child's first dental appointment is fun, and bringing your child to us BEFORE they have trouble with their teeth makes this possible.

In our office, the initial "check-up" appointment will include an introduction to the dental chair, which will give your child a "ride" up and down, Mr. Squirt, who squirts water, Mr. Vacuum who slurps up the water Mr. Squirt squirts, our spinning rubber toothbrush which polishes each of your child's teeth, and our special camera that can take pictures of teeth. After the introductions are done, we will paint clear but yummy flavored fluoride on each of the teeth and your child will meet Dr. Zimmerman who will "count" their teeth, and make sure there are no cavity bugs on them. When we are all finished, your child will get to pick out a little prize and get an awesome cookie coupon for the local cookie shop here in Woodland. If your child's teeth are cavity free, they will become a member of our "No Cavity Club" and have a chance to win another prize in our monthly drawing for that month. If they win they will receive a free $10.00 video rental gift card and get their picture in the local newspaper.

All of us, at Dr. Zimmerman's, understand how important it is for you to find the knowledge and care that helps you keep your child healthy. Send us a message or give us a call with any questions you may have.