Baby teeth play a big part in your child’s health and development. They help your baby chew, speak, smile and hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth. So when your baby’s first tooth erupts, or they turn 1-year-old, it’s important to have a dentist examine their teeth and gums.1
Here are some tips to help make the first dental visit easier for you and your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and American Dental Association (ADA) recommend the first visit happens after the first tooth appears or no later than the first birthday.2
As for the time of day, the ADA suggests mornings or whatever time your baby is most cooperative. It can be helpful to avoid scheduling the visit during your baby’s usual nap time.
Planning ahead can keep you calm and your child relaxed at the appointment:
- Talk to your baby about what’s going to happen in a positive way
- Have your child practice opening their mouth so the dentist can count and check teeth
- Read books or watch videos with fun stories about going to the dentist
- Put your child to bed early the night before so they’ll be well-rested
- Write down any concerns or questions you have about your child’s oral health
- Make sure your child has been added to your dental plan (if applicable)
- Fill out the office forms and paperwork ahead of time (if applicable)
During a first dental visit, the dentist will likely:3
- Place your child on a table or chair or have you hold your child on your lap during the exam
- Evaluate your child’s oral hygiene, overall health, drinking and eating habits and risk of tooth decay
- Remove stains or deposits on your child’s teeth with a wet toothbrush or wet cloth
- Demonstrate proper cleaning techniques
- Assess how much fluoride your child is getting (and prescribe a fluoride supplement if necessary)
- Look for sores or bumps on your child’s tongue, inside the cheeks and the roof of the mouth
- Evaluate the impact of habits like pacifier use and thumb sucking
Remember: If your child cries or wiggles during the exam, it’s normal. Do your best to stay happy and positive to support your baby during this new experience!
If you’re a current Humana dental plan member, you may be able to add a dependent to your plan at any time. If you’re looking for a family dental plan, Humana offers a broad range of plans with varying levels of coverage, many with affordable monthly premiums. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana dental insurance page.