Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment: What to Expect
A child’s first dental visit is as important as his or her first physician’s visit. Most children should be seen by a dentist no later than 6 months after their teeth break through their gums. If children do not have any teeth that have surfaced by the age of one, then it is recommended to take them to the dentist. Your child’s first dentist appointment will not take long, and there are usually limited treatments that will need to be performed. Usually, a child’s first dental appointment will not last longer than thirty minutes. Most dentists will allow the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold his or her child, or stay close by to ease the child from being anxious or scared. If the child is comfortable, then the parent may sit in the waiting room, which will help establish a trusting relationship between the dentist and the child. The comfort of the child is extremely important to dentists, so they will usually be flexible in order to keep the child happy.
The dentist will check the child’s teeth for signs of tooth decay and will inspect your child’s bite. The dentist will also perform an examination to make certain there are not problems with the oral tissue, gums, or development of the jaw. Your child may also have his or her teeth cleaned and may have a fluoride treatment. It is important to prepare your little one for his or her first trip to the dentist. Some good ideas are to read a story book about a trip to the dentist, or to role play with your child about his or her dental visit.
The dentist will also take this opportunity to inform parents on how to properly care for their child’s teeth. Some topics the dentist will discuss are how to teach children good oral hygiene, which will prevent tooth decay and cavities. If your child has any oral habits, such as lip sucking or thumb sucking, then the dentist will discuss the proper methods to help the child break his or her habit. This is also a perfect opportunity for parents to ask any questions they may have about their child’s oral health.
Although some general dentists will see children, pediatric dentists have 2 more years of training after dental school. This training involves the proper management and treatment of a children’s teeth and how they develop. Pediatric dentists are also accustomed to working specifically with children, so the dentists and their staff are focused on treating children. Pediatric dentists usually have a prize box, so the child can pick a small treasure to take after his or her appointment, and pediatric dentists usually provide a child with children’s toothbrush.