Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment
It’s never too early to bring your child to the dentist. Even if the first teeth haven’t erupted yet, the palate, gums, tongue and cheeks can be checked for any abnormalities; such as lip ties or tongue ties.
The general rule in having your child’s teeth checked is six months as this is the time the first teeth usually erupt, usually the lower front teeth. If, however, your toddler’s teeth are obviously discolored — you’ll probably want to take him to the dentist sooner rather than later.
In addition to checking for decay and other problems, the dentist will teach you how to properly clean your child’s teeth daily, evaluate any adverse habits such as thumb sucking, and identify your child’s fluoride needs. By starting dental visits at an early age, you will help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Expect the first dentist appointment to be short and informal — more of a meet and greet for your child and the dentist. First visits are mostly about getting kids used to the dentist’s chair and educating parents about how to care for their baby’s teeth.
Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.
It is advised that the toddler sit on the parent’s lap during their cleanings, to get them used to the process and eliminate any subjective fears. If a child goes with mom or dad and sees how everything is done they usually will do fine when it is time for them to be seen.
Our dentists prefer to see young children in the morning. It has been proven that a well- rested child is more responsive and will cooperate better to provide for a pleasurable experience for all.
When a child is about 6 years old, his/her teeth will begin to come loose. Let your child wiggle the tooth until it falls out on its own. This will minimize the pain and bleeding associated with a lost tooth.
Parents, please do not:
• Bribe your child into going to the dentist.
• Use a dental visit as a punishment.
• Let the child know that you feel any anxiety about going to the dentist.
• Let anyone tell your child scary stories about dental visits.
However, please do
• Try to make dental visits enjoyable for your child.
• Let your child go into the treatment room alone, if that is what your dentist prefers.
• Set a good example by brushing and flossing your own teeth thoroughly every day and by visiting the dentist regularly.
Tell your child that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will help the child stay healthy. Talk about the visit in a positive, matter-of-fact way, as you would about any important new experience. A visit to the dentist can be a pleasant adventure for your child.