Going to your dental appointment as an adult is a pretty standard part of your health routine. Twice a year you call in and make that appointment and go without a second thought. However, it hasn’t always been like that. As a child, it was up to your caregiver to make those appointments for you and take you to them. Going to the dentist for the very first time can be quite the anxiety-inducing experience. You may have been talked to about what to expect but nothing really fully prepares you until you are in that dental chair yourself. Knowing what to do and what to talk about with your children can help them feel at ease going to the pediatric dentist.
It is recommended to schedule your child’s first dental appointment by the age of one or within six months of their first tooth appearing. Proper oral hygiene is very important to overall health. Without proper care, teeth and gums can become infected and lead to other health issues such as gum disease, heart problems, and even diabetes. Instilling good oral habits in children when they are young will help them carry these habits into adulthood. Early care for kids’ teeth can help with:
It is also very important to take your child into a pediatric dentist as opposed to your regular dentist. Pediatric dentistry takes an additional two years of schooling and training. With this extra training, the children’s dentist will focus on children’s physical growth and development, child behavior, and proper management and treatment of children’s developing teeth. Even the office of a pediatric dentist is decorated for children with fun, bright and colorful artwork. The entire experience is geared towards easing children with their dental experiences.
As you prepare your child for their first visit, it is important to keep positive language throughout the conversation. Avoid using any frightening terms such as drill, needles, pain or hurt. Talk to your child about how they are going to meet some new friendly people who are there to help their teeth strong and healthy. Also, engaging in proper oral hygiene before their dentist visits will help the first visit go more smoothly. Properly caring for their teeth and mouth will help prevent against the need for preventative treatment such as fillings and potentially even tooth pulling. You may consider doing a mock dental visit from your home. Practice having your child open their mouth while you count their teeth. Hold a mirror up to show them how the dentist will be checking their teeth as well. You could even have them practice the visit on one of their favorite stuffed animals. The main point you want to get across is that dental appointments are good for you and can be fun!
Most kid dentists will have the very first visit be what they call a “getting to know you” visit. During this first time visit, the dentist will introduce themselves and the staff. Your child will get a tour of the facilities and get a general rundown of what a visit consists of. The dentist may even perform a small examination to determine the general overall status of the children’s mouth and teeth. You will then schedule the actual check-up for the near future.
At the first visit, the dental assistant and dentist will check for decay and potential problems with the gums or the jaw. They will also assess your child’s bite. Depending on the general assessment, dental x-rays may be recommended. X-rays are helpful preventative tools that help allow dentists to see deeper than the surface. If a child has common tooth decay or dental risks, x-rays may be needed every six to twelve months. If their dental health is good, x-rays may only be taken every one to two years. A dental assistant will perform the cleaning by using a tool to scrape any plaque or tartar off their teeth. Followed by brushing your child’s teeth, the dental exam will end with a fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a great way to help protect your children’s teeth.
At the end of the pediatric dental exam, the pediatric dentist will come into the exam area and review your child’s dental health. At this time, they will also discuss proper ways to care for your children’s teeth and how to establish good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions or concerns now is the time to have them addressed. By establishing good habits at a young age it will help your child carry them into adulthood and maintain good oral health. It’s very important to start young and establish a comfortable relationship with your pediatric dentist. A lot of adults suffer from dental anxiety and it can stem from problems as a child. Ensuring a trusting relationship between your child and the pediatric dentist will help for future years to come.
Finding a pediatric dentist you can call your dental home, will also help with your children’s confidence. Going into the same office, seeing the same people time and time again will allow for a comfortable and trusting experience. Comfort Care Dental has staffed knowledgeable and trustworthy pediatric dentists that will ensure the proper care of your children’s oral health. We take pride in providing a dental home to you and your family. If your child is at the age of needing their first dental visit, contact us to get started on the journey of good oral hygiene.