What to Know About Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist
Did you know that dentists recommend that your child's first visit should be when they are around twelve months of age? Generally, this will be about six months after their first tooth has appeared. This handy guide will give you some hints about what to expect on this very important visit.
WHY AN EARLY VISIT IS RECOMMENDED
Early dental visits help your youngster become familiar with the environment and prevent any dental phobias. Dentists will ensure that the visit is non-threatening and casual.
Even though your child does yet have many teeth, there are other vital things for the dentist to inspect, such as:
- Assessing the health of tissue and gums around the teeth which affect how your child eats and cleans
- Detecting any flaws in the enamel of the teeth that could suggest a future risk of decay.
Identifying any potential problems early on can avoid more serious issues from developing in the future. It is also an ideal time to ask questions you may have about your child's future development, for example:
- Thumb sucking
- Brushing techniques
- Healthy nutrition and foods to avoid for healthy teeth
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE FIRST VISIT
Young children's first appointments are usually based on play and rewards, and the dentist will adopt a light-hearted manner and use toys.
If your child is very young, you may like to hold them on your lap as the dentist examines and feels inside their mouths. Or you may be asked to sit near your child while they are in the dental chair.
If your child is a little older, the dentist builds trust by being open and honest. He or she will show and carefully describe all the details of what will happen in advance.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE VISIT
It's common for children to feel uneasy and fearful in strange places. Here are some suggestions on how to get ready for your child's first dental appointment.
Inform your child that going to the dentist is commonplace and that even parents do it. Bring your child with you when you see your family dentist for a checkup so they can observe and become accustomed to the dental office. A younger child could watch if an older sibling has an appointment. However, make sure they can demonstrate a suitable example for the little one to follow and it's a straightforward visit.
- Keep a cheerful outlook because youngsters are adept at detecting adult anxiety and frequently copy that behaviour.
- Avoid using terms like "needles", "scared" and "blood" or saying things like "it won't be bad" that they might interpret negatively.
- Inform them that you will be accompanying them throughout their visit.
Speak to your dentist to learn more.