When Should My Child Have Their First Dentist Visit? Interview with Dr. Mila Cohen of True Dental Care

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When should my child have their first dentist visit?First dentist visit

 When should my child have their first dentist visit?

We have found an amazing new dental practice in Jersey City- Dr. Mila Cohen and her husband and partner Dr. Dan Cohen have a beautiful state-of-the-art office just over the border from Hoboken in Jersey City. I had heard many mums ask when a child’s first visit to the dentist should happen and had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Mila about it. She is a board-certified dentist who was once  a young and fearful patient herself. This memory has fueled her passion to create a  warm and enjoyable experience for her patients from their very first visit. I asked her what parents need to think about when consider dental care for their children.

When should a child have their first dentist visit? This is a great question- the American Dental Association recommends sometime after the second birthday but to ensure your child grows up with a healthy respect for their teeth and a solid foundation in prevention and dental care, it’s best to do so within six months of their first tooth appearing — or no later than one year old.

Why so early? Early initial visits are important because they can prevent a lot of bad oral habits and unnecessary dental conditions. These early visits can help identify and prevent problems later on and, most importantly, help your child to become comfortable visiting the dentist from the start. 

Why don’t parents come earlier? One of the reasons parents don’t schedule early dental checkups for their kids is because they believe (incorrectly) that baby teeth are not important because they’re replaced by adult teeth. Baby teeth help with speech development and learning to chew correctly. Early care also allows adult teeth to grow in properly and starts your child on the most important habit, regular dental care. Children who visit the dentist at a young age are much less likely to be nervous!

What can I do to prepare my child for a first visit? Consider a call with the dentist prior to visiting with your child. Ask your dentist what she’ll be doing. You can then explain to your children  exactly what they can expect, eliminating surprises.  You can also bring your child to one of your dental appointments (True Dental Care serves adults as well!) and allow them to observe your care and how comfortable you are at the dentist. You can also “play” dentist: take turns pretending to be the dentist at home. Let your kids count your teeth and use a little mirror to look at hard-to-reach places.

What happens on a first visit? Your child’s very first appointment is mostly to present an opportunity to get to know the dentist and become comfortable in the office setting. It’s usually very short and doesn’t involve any treatment. For some children, it’s helpful if parents are with them in the examination area. Others behave better when they have the chance to interact with the dentist on their own.  Be sure that you schedule the appointment well. Make sure the appointment isn’t during (or right before) naptime. And schedule it when your children won’t be hungry. Take your time getting ready for the appointment so they aren’t rushed.

What happens during a first exam? During the examination portion of the appointment, the dentist examines your child’s  existing teeth, the overall bite, gums, jaw and oral tissues — looking for any potential problems. The dentist also allows your child to ask any questions. It’s important to start the relationship between the child and the dentist on the right foot and give them time to get comfortable with each other.

Why choose a pediatric dentist?  Pediatric dentists have two additional years of training after dental school specifically for training related to working with children. They also receive a more detailed education on children’s behavior, physical growth, dental development, and treatment of children’s teeth and mouths. Additionally, they’re trained in the sensitivity of children’s mouths and the manner in which their mouths change as they grow. Pediatric dentists are educated on how to help ease young childrens’ fears and concerns as well as methods for working with children with  special needs. Their offices are often decorated (like ours) in a way that makes appointments more playful and fun.

Visiting with Dr. Mila was a treat- and will be for your child as well. Please feel free to reach out to her office with any questions at  201.565.0880 or visit True Dental Care’s website for loads of information on Dr. Mila and Dr. Dan at https://www.truedentalcare.us .

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