When Should Your Child See a Dentist for the First Time?
There are many milestones to look forwards to as new parents: first steps, first words, and first teeth. The responsibility to care for your child’s teeth and schedule regular dental visits comes with that first tooth (and the many teeth that will follow!). Here’s everything you need to know about caring for baby teeth and making visits to the dentist fun and rewarding for both you and your kids.
When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?
Unless you notice anything concerning before then, we recommend that you bring your child for their first dental visit when they are around 2 years old. While their baby teeth will eventually fall out to make way for adult teeth, they will set the tone for your child’s smile’s future health. Early on in life, regular visits (every 6–12 months) are recommended to teach and encourage good oral health habits. When children are young, it is also easier to make them more comfortable with dental visits.
What Should You Expect During Your Visit?
The first step is to ensure that your child is at ease. By easing them into the visit (and their parents’ anxiety), they will be more willing to cooperate. We have a dedicated kids play room at The Grove Dental that is well-stocked with toys (many of which are dental related!) and makes for a great introduction to the clinic. Our entire staff adores children, so you can rest assured that by the time your child sits in the dental chair, he or she will have made several new best friends! Here’s what else to expect during the consultation:
A complete medical history is taken.
A discussion about brushing teeth (how often, which toothbrush and toothpaste to use, and how long to do it)
Taking care of any teething or thumb sucking issues
Advice on how to eat to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
An examination of your child’s bite and how the teeth should come together.
While a full cleaning may not be possible on the first visit, this first meeting will help your child feel at ease in the dentist’s chair. Expect the dentist to examine your child’s teeth, gums, jaw, bite, and any other oral issues inside his or her mouth.
How to Get Your Child Ready for His or Her First Dental Visit
Parents are frequently more apprehensive about dental visits than their children! It’s critical to keep your worries to yourself and not pass them on to your child. Telling scary stories or talking about needles or drilling teeth is not a good idea. Set the tone for the visit by making it a positive and rewarding experience for the kids.
We recommend that you discuss your child’s first dental appointment with them. Explain the process and what the dentist is looking for. Encourage them to practise opening their mouth wide.
Allow them to practise “playing dentist” on their favourite stuffed animal or doll. Your child can bring that toy to their dentist appointment so that it gets a “checkup” as well!
Explain what you’re doing and why as you brush your child’s teeth. It is the parents’ responsibility to instil good dental habits in their children. If children are taught proper brushing and dental techniques at a young age, they are more likely to do so for the rest of their lives.
It’s also crucial to schedule the appointment around your child’s nap and eating schedule. It’s almost a certainty that the appointment won’t go well if it falls right in the middle of their usual nap time. If it’s close to lunchtime, the same thing applies. Working around your child’s schedule will make your visit more enjoyable.
Also, don’t be shy about asking questions or expressing your concerns. While it’s important to check your child’s mouth and assess their oral health, it’s also critical that both parents and children feel at ease. By easing your children’s fears from the start, you can ensure that they will not be afraid of the dentist and that they will continue to visit as adults. If your child requires a dental examination, our team at The Grove Dental goes above and beyond to make your child’s first dental visit as pleasant as possible. Contact us today if you’re ready to set up an appointment or would like