When it comes to our kids, we always strive to do what’s best for them. Their oral health is no different. What age should you bring your kids to the dentist? What’s covered by your insurance? And how do you get them to brush and floss in between visits. Navigating these topics can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. We’ve compiled our most frequently asked questions to help guide parents like you to better health for your kids.
Kids’ Dental Visits
What age should I bring my kids to the dentist?
According to healthcare professionals, it is recommended to bring your child to the dentist by their first birthday or when they start getting teeth. However, many dentists will not see children until the age of 3. Check with your provider before scheduling to ensure their office is the right fit for your child.
Do I need to use a pediatric dentist?
Though you do not need to take your child to a pediatric dentist for their first visit, pediatric offices are often better equipped to care for your child. Pediatric dental offices are may be more colorful and less “scary” making it more comfortable for you kids to be seen. Their teams may also be trained to handle specific types of behavior associated with kids such as attachment to parents or biting.
If you do not have a pediatric dentist in your area, you can opt to see a regular family practice. These dental offices are great because they allow for the whole family to be seen in one place which can be easier for busy parents. In most cases, they are able to do the same treatment as a pediatric dentist such as sealants.
What should I expect for the first visit?
Depending on the age of your child, the dentist may use the first appointment to get the child comfortable with the office and dental team. Their dentist may let them sit in the chair on their own, use basic instruments to test if your child is able to get their dental exam, or simply get to know the child.
If your child is able to complete the visit with ease, they will be able to start their regular checkups. Alternatively, your dentist may recommend that your child is seen for another visit to get them comfortable enough before starting. The most important thing is to help your child have a positive start to lifelong, healthy oral care.
Dental Insurance for Kids
What does my insurance typically cover for children’s dental visits?
Every insurance plan is different. It is best to check with your specific insurance provider to see what your coverage options are. More often than not, preventative treatment such as sealants and fluoride are covered for children up to a certain age limit. Because of these age limits, it’s best to take advantage of the coverage while they still apply.
What if my child doesn’t have insurance?
There are many options if your child does not have the traditional employer-sponsored insurance plan. Many dentists offer discount dental plans specifically for kids. Additionally, there are non-profit and government programs like Medicaid/CHIP that allow your child to receive care. These plans vary from state to state so be sure to research what plan is available in your area.
Brushing and Flossing Between Visits
How can I get my children to brush their teeth?
Keeping up with an oral hygiene routine is the key to healthy checkups. Here are some helpful tips to help your kids establish a daily routine:
- Set an example by doing it with them each morning and night.
- Start them early using age-appropriate materials such as toddler toothbrushes.
- Teach them why it’s important.
- Make it fun – many electric toothbrushes for kids have a 2-minute timer with music that plays while they brush. When paired with their favorite flavored toothpaste and mouth wash, brushing their teeth becomes a breeze.
When it comes to bringing your kids to the dentist, remember what’s most important. Start bringing them by their 1st birthday to get them comfortable and check for any signs of early conditions. Take advantage of the dental coverage options like fluoride and sealants or affordable government programs. And by establishing a routine at home, kids are more likely to have better long-term oral health.
We hope these tips help your family practice great oral care. Call or visit your local dentist to schedule your child’s first visit today!