Your child’s first dental visit is right around the corner. You’re excited for your child to be meeting this milestone, but you’re also a little nervous about it as well. So, you’re wondering, what does a first dental visit entail?
That’s a good question and one that we’re going to discuss in detail below. Ready? Here’s everything you need to know about your child’s first dentist visit.
The Right Age for a First Dental Visit
First, you might want to know what age should a child first see a dentist? While this depends on a few different factors, a good average is between six months and a year. Generally speaking, it should be after the child’s first tooth erupts.
Note, though, that letting a child wait until two or three years isn’t the end of the world. It’s just that going early allows a dentist to nip potential problems in the bud.
So, if your child was just born, wait until that first tooth shows. If your child is over a year old, get to the dentist sooner rather than later.
What Happens at a Child’s First Dental Visit?
A child’s first dental visit is generally a fairly laid-back experience. We’ll discuss some of what might happen below.
The Dentist Speaks With the Parent
Regardless of the dentist you see, you as the parent are bound to have a conversation with the dentist about general dental health and oral hygiene. The dentist will focus on pediatric dental health, in particular, helping you to better understand the dental needs of your child.
The dentist will likely also speak with you about the specifics of your child’s dental health at present. For instance, if your child has any potential trouble areas, your dentist will point them out to you and inform you about the types of treatment that they might need in the future.
The Dentist Speaks With the Child
Not only will the dentist speak to the parent about good oral hygiene and taking care of a child’s teeth and gums, but he or she will also speak to the child directly (if possible, of course). This discussion will generally center around more light-hearted topics, like the child’s interests, age, family, and otherwise.
The purpose of this discussion is for the dentist and child to build a rapport with one another. If the child doesn’t feel comfortable with the dentist, he or she could develop a fear of going to the dentist. This conversation helps to ensure that that doesn’t happen.
The Dentist Looks Over the Child’s Teeth and Gums
Once discussions have been had, the dentist will take a look at the child’s teeth and gums. This is to determine whether any decay has arisen or whether there are any misalignment issues that might cause trouble in the future.
This is, by and large, a cursory assessment. It goes by relatively quickly and doesn’t include an intensive examination.
The Dentist Cleans the Child’s Teeth
Though it’s not true in all cases, on some occasions, the first dental appointment will actually include a cleaning of the teeth. This is particularly true in cases in which all of the child’s teeth have grown in.
If performed, this cleaning will include the eradication of plaque buildup both on and in between the teeth. In some cases, it will be accompanied with a fluoride treatment.
Preparing Your Child for His or Her First Dental Visit
In some cases, if they’re familiar with what a dentist does, children will be apprehensive about attending their first dental appointment. This can result in crying, whining, and full-blown tantrums. As such, as the parent, you must help prepare your child for the experience.
Ideally, the child will have no idea what a dentist is. That way, he or she can go in without negative expectations and just take the experience as it comes. If your child is currently unfamiliar with dentists, you’re advised to keep quiet about them until after the first appointment is over.
However, if your child is familiar with dentists, and if he or she is showing anxiety over the appointment, you need to have an in-depth discussion about expectations. Remain positive and tell the truth. Let your child know that this is for his or her good and that they will be safe.
You might even consider giving your child a reward for going. A little incentive can make a world of difference.
During the appointment, you might want to keep some toys handy. This way, they can be used to distract the child and keep his or her mind off of anything unpleasant that might be happening.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit With Children’s Dental
Still haven’t scheduled your child’s first dental visit? If not, and if you’re in the Dallas area, we here at Children’s Dental are the people to see.
We specialize in pediatric dentistry and go out of our way to create a comfortable environment for our young patients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!