When you have your first child, life is full of firsts. You’ll celebrate a first birthday and a first Christmas.
But what about your child’s first visit to the dentist?
The experts recommend that you take your little one to the dentist after the first tooth comes in.
Teeth are important for biting and chewing food, as well as speaking. So, you want to take care of your child’s baby teeth.
Do you know when to schedule your kid’s first dental visit? If not, read below to find out when to go and what to expect.
Should I Choose a Pediatric Dentist?
Both pediatric dentists and others will be able to address your child’s oral health needs. However, a pediatric dentist will have two years of additional training. Training focuses on children’s teeth, behavior, development, and specific oral health needs.
Pediatric dental offices will have decor that is meant to put children at ease. The rest of the staff may also be specially trained to work with children.
You may find that your child is more comfortable in a pediatric dentist office.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Consult your child’s pediatrician for help in making the decision. They’ll have a better understanding of what you’ll experience with a pediatric dentist and can it explain it to you.
Tooth decay is the leading disease among Canadian youth. It is important that you take your child to the dentist early to avoid future oral health problems.
Each of us only gets two sets of teeth. Care starts early.
Your Kid’s First Dental Visit: What to Expect
The first visit should occur within six months of their first tooth but no later than their first birthday.
This visit will not focus heavily on treatment. Instead, the goal is to get your child familiar with the atmosphere and complete necessary paperwork. The dentist will start to build a relationship with the child and help familiarize them with some of the tools.
Each dental office may use different names for each of the tools. This is an opportunity for your child to get used to what each tool is called. They will be introduced to the probe, gauze, drill, and more! How exciting!
When your child is comfortable, the dentist will look inside their mouth. The dentist will check your child’s jaw development, teeth, gums, and bite. He or she will look for any problems and clean existing teeth.
The dentist will determine your child’s fluoride needs. You will also get a lesson on caring for your child’s teeth at home. You can ask any questions you may have.
The dentist may go over nutrition, development, teething, cavity prevention, oral habits, oral hygiene, and more. It is important that you start building good dental hygiene now.
Habits your child forms now will persist into adulthood. If your child forms bad habits now, it’ll be more difficult to break them in the future.
It’s never too early to start flossing!
Preparing for the Visit
Going to the dentist can be a scary experience, even for adults.
You know your child and how they will respond to uncomfortable situations. Speak with the dentist to find out what whether you can sit in the chair with your child. If your child is comfortable on their own, you may not need to do so.
Practice with your child. Ask them to open their mouth and simulate counting their teeth.
Practice staying calm. It’s normal to get upset when your child gets upset. If you can stay calm, you will help your child stay calm.
Bring a list of questions you can ask, especially if this is your first child. The dentist can help you out if your child is sucking their thumb or is too dependent on a pacifier.
Call ahead and ask what information the dental office will need. You’ll be asked to fill out some paperwork but you may be able to fill it out online ahead of time.
Future Visits and X-Rays
You’ll be able to schedule future dental visits now, likely once every six months. These will be regular cleanings and check-ups. On the second visit, the dentist may count your child’s teeth and use a polishing paste.
Each subsequent visit will build on the last, depending on your child’s comfort level.
With each visit, try to encourage your child to be more independent. Instead of sitting in the room with them, sit in the waiting room. He or she should start to get to know the staff on his own.
By age three, the dentist appointments will encompass the whole routine.
As your child grows older, X-rays will play an important role in ensuring continued dental health. Most children will have X-rays by the age of five or six.
Some children will need to get them sooner. These are children who are at higher risk for tooth decay or who have a cleft palate.
The dentist will use X-rays to check that all adult teeth are growing and to look for bite problems. X-rays will likely not be done until the child is comfortable with the dentist.
An Exciting New Milestone
Your child is getting older every day. Over the course of their life, you will get to watch them go through many exciting milestones.
One of these is going to the dentist.
It can be a scary prospect, but it’s important if you want your child to grow up with strong and healthy teeth.
How do you know when it’s time to schedule your kid’s first dental visit? When they grow teeth! It’s really that simple.
The first visit won’t be too strenuous. It will just be a quick introduction to the dentist office and staff.
You may have some lingering questions about insurance. Visit our blog to find the answers!