How to Prepare your Toddler for their First Dental Appointment
It’s time to think about taking your child to their first dental appointment.
The first time parents should pay the dentist a visit is when their child turns one year old. Children at the age of one usually can understand what mom and dad are saying but they might not understand what the dentist is. This is why it’s important that you start brushing their gums early and then get them a soft toothbrush with some children’s toothpaste as their teeth come in. Your child will have an idea what their teeth are all about so you can start by reading them stories about going to see the dentist for the first time. The books will tell the child what to expect and the child should be able to point to the pictures of teeth and the picture of the dentist if you read to them frequently and they understand the words you are trying to convey.
Parents should find a dentist that they are comfortable with and take their children along with them for their appointments first to get them used to the office of a dentist. Pediatric dentists are good dentists for children but some dentists take all types of patients and all ages depending on their services they are qualified for. A pediatric dentist is trained to work on children and made this choice when they chose this profession. These dentists are kid friendly and make children feel at ease when they come for their first visit.
When you take your child to meet their dentist for the first time, this can be a challenge for both parents and child. Kids are quite nervous when it comes to going to a doctor or dentist especially the first time. Pediatric dentists are well aware of this so this is why they have a meeting and they introduce these meet and greet sessions for children and their parents. This is a wonderful way for parents to meet the staff and talk to the dentist about your child and about their anxiousness around something new to them. You can also see if your child is comfortable with this new dentist at their first initial visit.
Pediatric dentists go to school for an additional 2 to 3 years for specialized training to learn about young children and adolescents teeth. A pediatric dentist has very important and extensive clinical training so your child will be in good hands. It’s ok to be picky when you choose a dentist for your child because a bad experience with a dentist is painful for both you and your child, especially if they are having extensive work done. If your child cries or hurts from pain and the staff doesn’t seem too concerned, maybe this wasn’t the right choice for your family. Make sure the dentist and their staff have good personalities and are nice and friendly to your child.
Children of all ages can go to pediatric dentists and their job is to to make sure your child has a healthy smile and their teeth are getting the appropriate care. General dentistry is for older children that are teenagers and adults as well. General dentists also clean children’s teeth and fill cavities as well if you have a family dentist in mind. Pediatric dentists show children the correct way to brush their teeth and talk to children about the importance of flossing. They also talk to your child about eating healthy and watching the sugar so they don’t develop cavities too early.
Tell your child that the first visit won’t be anything that will hurt and they will just meet the dentist and they can ask questions if they are old enough to talk and understand what a dentist is. Talk to your child and tell them you will be there with the child at all times and dentists work to make sure kids have nice teeth that are healthy.
You can always take them to one of your appointments before you take them to their own appointments so they see the office of a dentist. Make this a positive visit and have fun, show them a visit to the dentist can be a great time.
Dentists strive to provide the best dental care for your child. It is the dentist’s top priority to speak to children about dentistry and why dental needs are so important. Finding a comfortable dentist early is extremely important, so dentists are now suggesting that your child should come in as soon as they get their first tooth. This is important to your child’s dentist can come up with a plan for your child so they learn to keep that beautiful smile as they cut more of their teeth. A good and healthy smile lasts forever if people start young and care for their teeth. Dentists can also detect if your child has underlying issues that might emerge later in life so they can document the situation now and work on the problem when the child reaches the correct age and has all of their teeth. Some children, unfortunately, have a third set of front teeth that have to be removed. This may sound unbelievable but it happens. Some children can have up to four extra front teeth under their permanent molars. They usually are either mushy bone or actually strong permanent teeth, while the second teeth came in like another set of their baby teeth.
Parents might think it’s cute or at least keeps their child quiet if they start sucking their thumb or a few fingers. In addition, watch out for nooks. Thumb, finger sucking and nooks can all cause the palate of the mouth to change and teeth to protrude. Most teeth will straighten out if these bad habits are nipped in the bud at an early age, but thumb sucking can become a lifelong problem causing thousands of dollars in orthodontic bills. Braces aren’t as hard on teeth as they used to be however, this is still a hard cost to swallow depending on how good your dental insurance is. The liners are fitted to teeth by taking impressions and are not hard on the enamel like the old fashioned braces used to be. These also don’t cause the teeth to become soft like long term wear of braces.
As long as parents’ do their homework and check around for the right pediatric dentist, they should be able to have a successful first visit with their child to the dentist. If you take them in around 6 months, when the average child gets their first tooth, this is a good time to start because they are still young enough to recognize a dentist office so as they grow older the visits should become easier for them. Make sure they follow the rules about dental hygiene and your child should have a wonderful glowing smile for years to come.