If you are a parent, you could be unsure of the right time to take your child for their first visit to a dentist. It would be best if you did not wait until your child has a dental problem or all their teeth have come in.
It would be best if you took your child to the dentist while they are young. Here is what you need to know.
WHEN SHOULD THE FIRST DENTIST APPOINTMENT BE?
You should take your baby to their first dentist appointment within six months after their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. You can also take them earlier than that.
During the first visit, the dentist is likely to give you information on the following;
- Tooth decay caused by bottle-feeding
- The best feeding practices for your baby
- Teething and what to expect during this time
- How to clean your baby’s mouth
- Answer your questions on pacifier and finger sucking habits.
The first appointment will also ensure that;
- Your child becomes familiar with the dentist’s office and staff. The dentist and staff will interact with the child positively, thus building trust with the child.
- Your child familiarizes with the language that the dentist uses to eliminate the fear associated with dentist offices.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING BABYS FIRST DENTIST APPOINTMENT?
The first dentist appointment usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. Depending on their age, the dentist might carry out a full assessment of your child’s mouth.
The dentist may carry out an examination to look for signs of decay, bottle carries, or anything that may affect speech or growth of teeth. They will also check the gums, bite, jaws, and oral tissues to ensure that their growth and development are on track.
If needed, your child might get their teeth cleaned and polished. Cleaning is gentle to remove any plaque, tartar, or stains. The dentist will also teach you and your child how to clean and floss the teeth properly. The dentist will also advise on the need to use fluoride.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR BABYS FIRST DENTIST APPOINTMENT
You should prepare your child so that they know what to expect. Use positive words to reassure them so that they are not afraid. Tell them that their visit will be fun and good for them.
Play with them a game to help them relax when they are in the waiting room and bring their favorite toy for comfort. You can also hold your child in your lap to keep them calm during the visit.
You can visit a pediatric dentist for the first visit. Pediatric dentist offices are kid-friendly, talk to children in a gentle way that makes them comfortable, and use smaller tools perfect for tiny teeth.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD TEETH AT HOME
There are ways to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy at home.
- Clean gums using a clean damp cloth before their teeth come in
- Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and very little toothpaste when their first tooth appears. After your child is three years use a pea-sized amount of fluorine-containing toothpaste.
- Avoid giving your child a bottle of milk or any sweetened drink before they sleep to prevent bottle tooth decay. You should limit the time they use a bottle to six minutes or less at a time.
- Do not give your child sugar from sweets, sweetened juices, or drinks that increase tooth decay.
- Teach and help your child brush their teeth until they are 7 or 8 years old.
Your child’s oral hygiene is essential, and their first dentist visit should be an exciting time. Keeping a positive attitude and finding the right dentist will give you and your child the best experience.
Practicing good oral hygiene at home, limiting sugar intake, and limiting bottle time will keep your child’s smile shining.