First Dental Visit for Your Child – Fact Sheet
When should you take your child for their first visit to the dentist? It is when they celebrate their first birthday or grow their first tooth. Experts suggest that the optimal timing for this initial visit might be earlier than you think. You can take your child at a younger age. However, dentists recommend that you take your child just after their first tooth erupts which generally happens between six months or at the most within twelve months.
As a newborn, your child is not the only one that first experiences the world. You also have a lot of new stuff to experience! For instance, you should go for frequent dental check-ups. Even if you have confidence with your own oral health, there may be many questions about your child’s dental health during these checkups.
If you are unsure about when to bring your child for the first time to the dentist and what to expect from that visit, here are some important information about taking care of your child’s oral hygiene which both of you can smile about.
The dentist can provide you with information on the following on your initial visit:
- Decay in tooth while your child is bottle feeding
- Practices of child feeding
- Cleansing the mouth
- Pacification habits
- Habits of thumb-sucking
Why so early?
According to several well-known dentists, tooth decay affects around 1 in 5 children under the age of 5. By early diagnosis of any developing issues, your dental professional can successfully identify and treat them. They will do what they can to make sure your child has a healthy smile for life. Your pediatric dentist can check for tooth decay, injuries and other problems during your visit and can track changes in the mouth of your child as they grow.
Here are some further reasons why your child should attend to a dentist early –
Early visits to the dentist can prevent problems: Risks of decay and discolouration start with the first baby tooth of a child. Young children can end up in the surgery for a few cavities to be corrected under general anaesthetic.
Exposure creates comfort: During the examination, very small children can sit on the lap of an adult which is not at all upsetting. Dentists usually reward the child from the very first instance with toys and stickers. It also enables a debate on healthy oral health behaviours. As you see your child’s pediatrician for routine visits, children should also see a dentist on a routine basis.
Why do primary teeth matter?
Although many believe that primary teeth are not crucial to long term oral care, in many fields, such as chewing, digestion, these infant teeth are critical, as any parent can tell you. A fantastic smile lights up a room instantaneously!
If the baby or the primary tooth is lost or damaged at an early age, the permanent teeth can migrate or grow permanently behind them in the empty space. This could lead to misalignment of the teeth as the child ages, which in future could lead to more serious dental problems.
In the end, the earlier you can get a child to see a paediatric dentist, the higher your chances of your child to have a positive dental experience over the course of their lives.
What will be the first appointment?
As soon as you enter the office with your child, the focus becomes centered on mutual familiarity and trust. Have a quick talk and introduce your child to the staff at the front desk. While waiting, let your child actively explore the waiting area so that the next time you are there, it does not seem to be an alien land to your child.
When the time comes to see the dentist, introduce the dentist to your child and allow the dentist to talk freely with them, so that your child realises that the dentist is just another person. The dentist will chat to your child directly and explain what will take place throughout the appointment. This may seem odd if your child is not talking yet, but children understand much more than we believe.
Furthermore, explaining the events of the visit in a straightforward and conversational style helps your child to ease up much faster around your dentist. Some dentists even make your child even more comfortable by using puppets or children’s literature to explain things, which further relaxes the child.
After your child becomes comfortable with the dentist, the dentist will start showing your child the instruments they will use throughout the appointment. Often, the instruments are the worst thing for the children, but it is important to show them the equipment and teach them how they are used to make them comfortable with the initial examination, before using them on your child. Some child-friendly dentists give interesting names to their instruments, so that your child can accept them more easily.
They will complete a normal examination, test for dental decay, check your child’s gums, jaw and bite, and look for issues with frenum or other problems which may impair your child’s teeth or speech patterns. Then they will clean your baby’s teeth and gums thoroughly, advise you on how best you can look after your child’s mouth, and reply to queries.
If your child is excessively apprehensive or afraid, the dentist stops the examination. If the examination does not take place on the first visit, it’s not a major deal for them. A good child-friendly dentist will not move past your child’s comfort level ever. And a good child friendly dentist will of course offer your child a prize after their visit, like a sticker or a toy.
The Second Visit
Most dentists advise for their patients to come for appointments at least two times a year, but ask your paediatric dentist what their recommendation is according to your child’s needs. Like adults, every six months, your child should see the dentist. Some dentists may arrange visits more frequently, for example every three months. This often builds the child’s comfort and trust. More frequent visits might also assists in detecting and keeping an eye on some developing problem.
First visits mainly involve getting children acquainted with the dentist’s chair and teaching parents how to care for the teeth of a baby. You get a one-year pass if your child passes from bottle to cup and doesn’t snack or drink in the middle of the night until two years of age. That is when the conventional advice for six-month dental visits begins. When your child is between 4 and 6, expect the first series of X-rays from your dentist to check for the cavities lurking between your teeth.
Prevention is the name of the game from 6 to 12 years old, when baby teeth gives way to permanent teeth. Your child’s dentist will probably propose a plastic resin, also known as fissure sealants, that bind to the chewing surface of your child’s teeth between 7 and 9 years of age. The most likely treatment location is cavity-prone molars. The sealant prevents cavity-causing germs from entering grooves and dental valleys.
Also, when your child reaches approximately the age of 7, your dentist will probably offer an orthodontic assessment. Most children will be waiting for braces till they become young, but orthodontics are about changing the jaw growth, so early identification of the skeletal origins of crooked teeth helps to ensure that the smile is lovely later.
Your first dental visit is still making you nervous
It is common for children and their parents to feel scared or worried before their visit, but here are some steps that will allow you to have a pleasant time.
- The first and probably the best recommendation are just to talk to your children and show them what going to a dentist actually means. During your own visit, have your child join in and they will quickly discover how safe and fun filled event it can turn out to be.
- Take the help of the numerous numbers of books and materials that are available online to assist you and your child to fully comprehend what goes on before, during and after the first visit to a dentist.
- Schedule your appointments during your child’s most convenient time. Just like adults, some kids, during the morning hours, are more open and pleasant, while others in the afternoon do better.
- Make it pleasant in every way possible! There is nothing better than having a good time to ease the tension of a first dental visit. Learn a few jokes related to your tooth, or have your children recall their teeth and mouth parts.
Excellent oral health is vital. While it is up to you, as a parent or caregiver, to decide on the ideal timing for your first visit, technological advances have indeed made each visit much more exciting.