Dentist appointments are important to ensure your child’s teeth and gums have a good, healthy future ahead of them. Even though baby teeth are temporary, it’s important to keep them cavity and injury-free (some of them stay in for 10-12 years!).
That being said, you may be wondering how to get your child started at the dentist. Here’s some information on how to find the right dentist for your child, when to schedule the first appointment, how you can prepare for it, and what to expect when the day comes.
How Do I Find the Right Dentist For My Child?
It’s best to find a pediatric or family dentist for your child because they have special training and experience working with people of all ages. They’ll also have the behavior management skills, gentle cleaning techniques, and inviting staff to help make sure your child feels safe and comfortable — all things that encourage good future dentist visits and clean, healthy teeth!
When Should I Schedule My Child’s First Dentist Appointment?
Your child’s first dentist appointment will come faster than you think. Most dentists recommend that this appointment be scheduled after their first tooth appears, but no later than your child’s first birthday.
Although this may seem soon, it’s important that they come in for checkups and cleanings early on. Once teeth start coming in, they’re immediately prone to cavities and other dental problems. Seeing a dentist early gives your baby a healthy start.
How Can I Prepare My Child for Their First Dentist Appointment?
Going to the dentist is a new experience for your child, so it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to come. This can help you prevent any fussiness or meltdowns on the day of. Here are some tips we give parents to prepare for that first appointment:
- Talk positively about the dentist to and around your child
- Have them practice opening their mouth
- Read books and watch videos about the dentist
- Pick an appointment time when they are usually well-rested (not naptime)
- Bring a toy or surprise gift for after they’re done
Some parents also find themselves a little nervous for their child’s first dentist appointment. You can ease some anxieties by asking to fill out any paperwork at home beforehand, or by making a list of questions to ask the dentist ahead of time. That way, you’ll feel a bit more prepared on the day of.
What Should I Expect At My Child’s First Dentist Appointment?
A child’s first dentist appointment is meant to be quick and straightforward. First, you’ll be asked to go into the room with your child, and hold them in the chair if they’re not able to sit up by themselves. Then, the dentist will likely talk to you about your family’s dental history and your child’s oral hygiene habits like cleaning, pacifier use, feeding, and sleeping.
Next, the dentist will examine your child’s jaw and teeth to count how many teeth are in and to make sure everything is developing properly. They’ll also check for any cavities or mouth injuries that need further attention. Finally, the dentist will clean your child’s teeth and give you some tips for daily care (and possibly give your child a special prize!).
Throughout your visit, it’s important to remember that if your child cries or wiggles, it’s completely normal and okay. Family and pediatric dentists understand that it’s a new experience for both of you, and it likely isn’t anything they haven’t worked with before.
Mogren Dental has knowledgeable and compassionate staff to treat adults and children. Schedule your child’s first dentist appointment with us, and we’ll help your child grow up with perfectly healthy teeth.