Five Things to Know Before Your Child’s First Dentist Visit
Taking your child to the dentist for his or her first screening, check-up, or other procedure can be a harrowing experience for grown-up and wee one alike – but it need not be that way! In fact, if you know what’s coming, you can set the foundation for a lifelong enjoyment of dental care, and not just for the first visit, but all the visits to come. To learn the top five things you need to know in advance of your child’s first trip to the dentist, just read on!
- Dental Blindness
- As a general rule, adults have a somewhat strained relationship with their dental care providers. Maybe it’s the drills, maybe it’s the bills, but whatever it is, almost no grown-up associates the dentist with pleasant experiences, let alone with pure fun. Kids are different – your biases aren’t theirs, and it shouldn’t come as a shock to see them legitimately bond with their dentist, even to the point of belly laughter in the operation / check-up chair. Speaking of which, if the dentist asks for some time apart to build some rapport with your little one (some DDSs prefer to operate on this model), it’s best to allow it – five minutes in the next room is often enough to allay any jitters children might have, and it allows the dentist to get to know his or her newest charge.
- The Early Bird Catches the Cavity
- It’s the recommendation of most dentists that you should take your child(ren) for their first appointment before they reach one year of age or six months after they get their first tooth, whichever comes first. It’s not a hard and fast rule by any means, but if in doubt, it’s best not to wait or drag your feet – dental problems certainly won’t.
- A Revolving Door
- To be honest, there won’t be much to a first children’s dental appointment. A check-up to ensure age-appropriate maxillary development and a lack of cavities or other obvious problems is often the extent of the visit. A tooth cleaning may or may not occur, and any extra time will likely be spent on a dentist-to-adult rundown of proper dental habits and / or the answering of questions and concerns. Again, some bonding exercises may also take place during an initial visit; levels of parental / adult involvement may vary.
- All told, your child’s initial appointment shouldn’t take more than half an hour.
- Provider Selection
- You might think that taking a little kid to the same dentist you or your friends use is fine, and in most cases, it is. However, it’s worth noting that there are such things as pediatric dentists, which is to say, dentists who specialize in the care and treatment of children. “Normal” dentists who operate on patients of all types will certainly suffice, but taking your kids to see a dentist whose practice is tailor-made for people of their age, developmental stage, temperament, and so forth is a great way to ensure they get top-notch care.
- Coming Back for Seconds (and Beyond)
- After the first appointment, the question most parents / adults have is “So, when should we come back?” While it can obviously vary, the answer most dentists will return is “When it’s necessary.” This usually translates to biannual visits – assuming there are no dental issues that require you and your child to make more frequent appearances, one visit every six months is fine.
And there you have it – everything you need to know to ace your first children’s dental appointment! Thanks for reading, and hey, don’t forget to floss!