A young one’s first dental visit isn’t necessarily child’s play, but it doesn’t have to be a dreaded task. There are ways to make it a more comfortable experience for you, your child, and the dentist.
When Is Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment?
A child’s first trip to the dentist is earlier than most people think. Teeth start forming in the womb and can erupt as early as four months. The general rule of thumb for children is to get them into the dentist’s office when the first tooth appears or by their first birthday. Sound too early? More than 1 in 4 children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age 2. Starting an oral regimen early on is a key preventive health measure.
But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age 1 dental visit lets parents discuss:
- How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth
- Proper use of fluoride
- Oral habits, including finger and thumb-sucking
- Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth
- Teething and milestones of development
- The link between diet and oral health
How to Prepare
Make sure you talk to your child BEFORE arriving at the office. In fact, talk about it a lot. Have your child practice opening his or her mouth to get them ready for when the dentist counts and checks their teeth. Read books or watch videos about first dental visits. This may help your child be less fearful and more confident.
Prepare yourself. Call the office and ask questions. See if you can have paperwork sent to you in advance to expedite the waiting room experience. This will stave off anxiety for everyone involved.
What to Expect
The dentist may ask you to sit in the chair so they can look in YOUR mouth. This is a way to show the child there’s nothing to be scared of and that the dentist is someone to trust.
Your child’s teeth and jaw will be examined to ensure proper development. In most cases, you will be seated in the dental chair with your child on your lap, if your child isn’t able to sit in the chair alone. The dentist will check for mouth injuries, cavities, or other issues. Once that part of the exam is over, the dentist will clean your child’s teeth and give you tips for daily care.
If you have any questions regarding your child’s first visit to the dentist, please give us a call. We’re a family friendly dental practice with years of experience treating all ages.