“You don’t need to care for baby teeth because they’ll fall out anyway.” This is a common misconception professionals have repeatedly disproved to let parents know how important it is to make their child’s first dental visit a successful one.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend parents take their children to their first dental visit as soon as their first teeth erupt or no later than their first birthday. It also helps parents establish a routine for good dental care.
Don’t know where to start with preparing? Here are some tips for a great dental visit from sunrise-dentistry.com:
Why Your Child’s First Dental Visit Is Important
Taking your child to see the dentist as a baby may seem unnecessary and too early; however, babies can also develop dental problems. Aside from preventing and detecting early dental caries, an early first dental visit allows dentists to talk about infant feeding habits, teething, pacifiers, oral habits, caring for your child’s new teeth properly, and tooth decay due to bottle feeding.
Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit
We can expect screaming, crying, and kicking at a child’s first dental visit. Young children often feel scared when they don’t know what’s happening. It’s a normal reaction; even adults get scared of visiting a dentist. But, if you prepare your child properly, they might have a better chance of building rapport with their dentist and be more cooperative during dental procedures.
Here are some tips to help prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist and any subsequent visits.
- Select the right schedule.
Carefully scheduling your child’s first dental appointment will help you avoid tantrums and tears. Schedule your appointment for a time when your child is happy and energetic, usually after a meal or nap time; children tend to be less cooperative when they are hungry or sleepy.
- Bring their favorite toys.
Let your child bring their favorite toy. A familiar object that brings them comfort will help them feel secure. Always being near them before, during, and after the visit also helps them feel calmer.
- Explain what happens during a dental appointment.
If your child is old enough to understand, explaining what a dentist is and what happens in a dental appointment might help ease their fears. You can also read a book or watch a kid-friendly video with them about what happens inside a dental clinic. Role-playing as their friend, the dentist, is another great idea to teach them what a dentist does and help them feel more at ease.
- Choose a pediatric dentist.
A pediatric dentist is an excellent choice for your child’s first experience with the dentist. They are trained in taking care of children’s oral health and dealing with children’s moods. Their offices are often designed with bright and cheerful decor, kid-size equipment, and friendly staff to help them feel more comfortable.
What To Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
Your child isn’t the only person who needs to prepare for their first dental appointment; you also need to prepare, especially if you’re a first-time parent. Here’s what you should expect at your child’s first dental appointment:
- Learning Experience
Pediatric dentists are the best people to show you how to clean your child’s teeth properly. After your child’s pediatric dentist examines your child’s smile for signs of decay and other conditions that might require special care, the first visit often becomes a learning opportunity for parents. The pediatric dentist may teach you how to care for your child’s teeth and gums. Sure, you can watch videos online, but nothing beats one-on-one learning sessions, especially for your child’s oral care.
- Questions About Your Child’s Eating Habits
The pediatric dentist will also ask about your child’s eating habits and offer dietary counseling. Many parents are often surprised at how their child’s food and drinks affect their oral health. Talking about your child’s eating habits with their pediatric dentist is a great way to get personalized feedback and tips on encouraging your child to eat healthily.
- Opportunity to Ask Questions About Oral Health
Your baby’s first visit to the dentist is an excellent opportunity to ask all your questions about oral health. It’s the best time to ask why you’re having difficulty weaning your child from pacifiers or get tips on how to help your child with their teething problems. It’s the perfect time to seek answers from the experts.
Your child’s first dental appointment shouldn’t be something to stress about. Prepare your child by setting their appointment at the right time, preferably when they’re awake and full of energy. You can also bring their favorite toys or explain what happens at a dental office by playing pretend, books, or kid-friendly videos. You can also take them to a pediatric dentist, where they’re more likely to get excited about the visit.
Knowing what to expect at your child’s first visit also helps you prepare. You can also visit dentistry websites for more information about a dental clinic’s services.