How To Prepare Your Child For The First Visit To The Dentist
Parents have often wondered when their child’s first visit to the dentist should be and when it is too early to go. The truth is that children should see a dentist once the first tooth appears or once they celebrate their first birthday. Getting a children’s dentist involved in your child’s oral health ensures that their teeth will grow healthy and that they practice proper oral care from the time they are young. Children who develop good habits in their formative years are more likely to retain those habits as teens and adults.
The first visit to the dentist is also a way for parents to learn how to care for their child’s teeth and determine the proper amount of fluoride intake that is considered safe for the child based on his age.
To ensure that your child receives the best quality dental care and attention, there are specific steps you need to take before taking him for his first dental appointment. Being prepared will also reduce his anxiety and worry. Here are tips you can use.
1. Find the right dentist.
Identifying the right professional to assist your child is critical for ensuring that your child does not only receive the proper dental care, he is also able to build a strong foundation for excellent dental health for the rest of his life.
To find the best children’s dentist, go for referrals from family members, friends, and your pediatrician. People with young children of their own could probably provide you with a good lead, as well as other medical professionals. You could also look for dental practitioners in your locality. A local dentist, for example, may also be qualified to treat children or could refer you to the right professional.
Once you have a list of dentists, make an appointment for an ocular inspection of their clinics. In most cases, you could tell a lot about a dental practice by the way the clinics are run. Is it clean and hygienic? Are the staff friendly and capable of dealing with children? Is the ambiance right for a young child? You could also inquire about the dentists’ experience with young patients.
2. Schedule your first visit.
Prior to setting an appointment, make sure to ask the dentist what you should do to prepare your child for his first visit. Most children are terrified of strangers and may not be too happy about being examined by a dentist. Make sure to prepare your child for the visit. Talk to him about the necessity of seeing a dental professional and answer all his questions to help assure him. If the child knows what to expect, he is less likely to be uncooperative, fearful, or worst, throw a tantrum. If your child shows a high level of anxiety, however, you might want to consider rescheduling your appointment.
3. Know your expectations.
The first visit to a children’s dentist is all about building the foundation of good oral health. On your child’s first visit, the dentist will evaluate his teeth, gums, and jaw, and assess his bite and other oral issues to identify any problems that need improvement. Depending on the condition of your child’s dental health, the dentist might perform a cleaning or if required, probably an x-ray.
The children’s dentist will also discuss with you how to work with your child to maintain/improve his oral health. You will be informed about oral development, tooth decay, risk factors that lead to cavities, and other dental problems. Your dentist will also discuss ways you and your child can take care of his teeth at home.
If you have questions, you would like to ask, write them down so you can discuss your concerns.
4. Don’t miss important details.
Ask the dentist when the next appointment should be. Children should have a regular, twice-yearly visit to their dentist. If your child was given the all-clear, he might be asked to return after six months.
It is also a good idea to ask how to get in touch with the dentist in case of an emergency, especially one that requires urgent care.
5. Be a good example yourself.
Children tend to imitate their parents’ habits. When they see you practice regular oral care, they will follow your example.
When children develop good oral habits early, they will reap the benefits of this practice when they are older. Guide them in making the right decisions about their health now so they can avoid painful and costly dental procedures in the future, and maintain good personal hygiene and confidence over the years.