Many parents are confused about the age their kids should be for their first dentist appointment. Should it be when most of their child’s teeth have come in or when they first encounter a dental problem? The American Dental Association says neither and recommends that a child be brought to a dentist within 6 months of the first tooth erupting. This usually happens around the age of one.
Why Your Child Should Visit a Dentist at an Early Age
Dentistry for kids is a service offered in many top dental clinics and it’s not hard to see why. A lifetime of healthy teeth begins with instilling good dental habits and nutritional choices at a young age. Allowing your child to visit a dentist early on in life will help build trust towards the dentist and work towards making the dental clinic a familiar and non-threatening place for them.
What to Expect During the First Visit
Don’t expect any real work to be done on your child’s first dental visit. Kids will find this strange new place to be intimidating at first and that’s okay. The first visit will be more about familiarizing your child with this new environment and the people in it. The dentist will probably let your child explore around the office, look at the various instruments, and maybe even check out the dental chair.
Once your kid is comfortable enough (and depending on the age), the dentist may give your child either a quick check of the mouth or a full exam of their teeth and gums. There may also be a little gentle cleaning involved. Mostly though, the dentist and their team will share information with you about the proper oral care methods for children, including flossing, what kind of toothpaste is best for developing mouths, and so on. You will also be asked for your child’s complete medical history so make sure to have that handy for your dentist.
It’s understandable that children may not feel at ease immediately during the first visit, and you may be asked to hold your child’s hand while the dentist takes a look in their mouth. This will grow less frequent during succeeding visits until your child becomes more confident with the dentist and the routine.
Preparing for the Visit
It often helps if you can prepare for the visit beforehand by talking to your child in simple words they can understand. Explain what a dentist is and what they do. For example, you can tell them that “the dentist will count your teeth” and “make them look stronger and cleaner!”. Avoid saying “it won’t hurt” because that might make him even more anxious.
Keep an upbeat tone when talking about the appointment to help your child have a more positive attitude towards the experience. Lastly, time it when you know your child will be in a good mood such as when they’ve had enough rest and are not hungry.
Start Your Kids on a Lifetime of Healthy and Beautiful Teeth
Here at White Dental Studio located in Ashland, Oregon, we’re committed to providing you and your children with the best dental care while being environmentally responsible. Call us at 541-708-6288 or book your appointment online today!