Most parents wonder: When should their child first visit the dentist? Ideally, your child should have their first dental appointment within six months after their first tooth comes in. You might think that it’s too early to receive any valuable dental advice at this point. But having your child visit the dentist as soon as possible jumpstarts their oral health.
At this time, your family dentist can give you information on:
- Mouth cleaning
- Infant feeding practices
- Pacifier habits
- Baby bottle tooth decay
- Finger-sucking habits
These habits can affect the way your child’s teeth develop, which is why it’s important to receive advice on proper oral health habits for babies and toddlers.
It can be difficult to convince your child to visit the dentist for the first time. If they’re too scared or anxious, that can get in the way of their dental health. So, you have to make sure their experience is as pleasant as possible to convince them to continue with their treatments.
Here are tips on what to expect and what you can do to make your child feel comfortable during their first dentist visit.
What to Expect
The initial appointment, although short and informal, is important. The dentist will use this time to build rapport with your child and help them feel comfortable. The success of the first visit colors your child’s opinion on trips to the dentist. If the experience was unpleasant for them, they might not want to come back anymore.
Once your kid feels at ease, the dentist will inspect their mouth and teeth for a general check-up. They’ll examine your child’s existing teeth and bite alignment then look for potential problems.
You should take this chance to ask any questions you have about toddler teething. Teething can be difficult for some toddlers, involving symptoms like fever, coughing, and loss of appetite, among others.
The dentist will talk to you about healthy oral habits for children. Some habits, such as thumb-sucking, can affect teeth alignment. If your child has this problem, the dentist will give you advice on how to wean them off of thumb-sucking.
Tips to Overcome Their Fear of Dentists
Prepare your child for their first dental check-up to make them feel less anxious. But don’t make the appointment seem like a big deal. Otherwise, they might feel even more nervous. Try to build excitement by talking about dentists in a positive language. Make sure you explain why it’s important to go to the dentist in a way that they understand.
To alleviate their anxiety, you can follow these techniques before or during the appointment: ;
- Come prepared: Bring your child’s comfort toys, books, and distractions to keep them from getting antsy while waiting for their turn. Pack the items that usually calm them down, in case they get upset.
- Plan a treat: Make a day out of your dentist trip. You can plan something as simple as going to the playground or getting ice cream after visiting the dentist. This will give your child something to look forward to, helping them stay focused on the positive.
- Build positive associations: Build associations that help your child think of dentists in a positive way. For example, you can watch age-appropriate videos or read picture books about dental trips together. You can also play with stuffed animals and dolls role-playing as the dentist and the patient.
Again, your child’s first dentist experience is important to their oral health. They’ll be much more receptive to their dental treatments when they form a positive relationship with their dentist.
To ensure your child’s comfort during their first dental appointment, look for a family dentist that knows how to handle young patients.
The Family Dentist You Can Trust
At Rod W. Gore DDS, our experienced and knowledgeable team serves patients of all ages. With our friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere, young patients will feel at home in our clinic. We use the latest tools and technology to make dental procedures as painless as possible for your children.
Call 480-585-6225 to schedule an appointment today. For inquiries about our dental services, fill out our online form.