Typically, a child must have his or her first dental visit in the first six months since the first tooth came in or in their first year. This is to ensure that the growth and development of their baby teeth are not being compromised. If your child’s first dental visit is at age 4, expect certain procedures like an X-ray and full inspection of the teeth. Health on 21’s medical center located in Palm Beach highly suggests a regular visit to a pediatric dentist to ensure that your child is not at risk of periodontal diseases.
What To Expect On Your First Dental Visit
It’s important to prepare yourself and your child for their first dental visit. Kids are commonly anxious about dental treatments which often makes it hard for the pediatric dentist to do his job well.
Depending on the age and dental condition of your child, the dentist might give you some valuable information about the following.
- Tooth decay due to feeding bottles
- Proper home oral care for infants
- Mouth cleaning
- What to do if they are teething
- Risks of pacifier
- Facts about thumb-sucking
The first dental visit is very important. It is recommended on the first 12 months of the child or if the first baby teeth become visible. Regular check-ups are done after every six months just like with the adults. The first few years are crucial as these are the stages where your child will build confidence and trust with their dentist. So make sure to always follow your scheduled appointments.
Preparing Your Child
As a parent, it could be quite challenging to convince your child to visit a dentist. Most of the time, it happens when the child is about 4 years of age. This is the reason why dentists recommend the first dental visit during their first year, so they can closely monitor their dental health and start building a good relationship with the child as early as possible.
Check out these tips below that might be helpful in preparing your child for their first dental visit:
- Choose an appointment time where they are most attentive and joyful. In most cases, younger children are more attentive and energetic in the mornings, while others are more joyful in the early afternoon.
- Bring their comfort toy. Whether it’s a stuffed animal or a doll, make sure to carry something that can help them calm down when things go wrong. Let them hold on to the toy during the whole dental process to keep them relaxed.
- Explain things to them. It’s better if the child is well prepared for their first dental visit. Toddlers or kids from 4 years old can already understand simple explanations.
If your child is experiencing dental problems at home, listen to them carefully and list down their concerns. They will not be able to share their frustrations with the dentist most especially if they are not yet comfortable with them.
You can prepare yourself by discussing your child’s concerns with their pediatric dentist, This way, you will be able to explain to your child later on the things that he needs to do to make sure that his oral health is well taken care of.
Preparing the Dentist
Fill in the dentist about your child’s behavior when they are feeling something in particular. For example, your child is not very fond of talking when he is scared and frightened, but it can be managed when he hears his favorite song. Let the dentist know what he could do to make it easy for him to communicate with your child.
The child’s reaction definitely varies on their age. To fully understand this, let us discuss their common reactions by age and the things that you can do to manage them:
- 9th to 12th month. Babies this age are typically attached to familiar people only. They could get upset when a strange individual takes them away from their parents. If they need to be taken away for an exam, calm them down by ensuring that they can at least hear your voice.
- 2nd and 3rd year. Children at this stage are more attached to their parents. They typically have mild separation anxiety and you might need to be a little bit more patient with them especially if it’s their first dental visit. Your child will be more at peace if they can see you around. Or much better, sit right next to them.
- 4 years above. At this point, your child must have had their first dental visit already, but if not, it would be important to guarantee them that everything is going to be okay. Stay by their side during the whole dental visit and be supportive until they feel comfortable with their dentist.
First Dental Visit Procedures
The procedures that will conclude will depend on your child’s age. During their first dental visit, the pediatric dentist will try to determine the health and condition of their oral health, discuss certain matters with the parents, and build a friendly relationship with the child.
Your child’s dentist will do the following procedures to come up with accurate results and possible solutions if dental problems are about to emerge:
- Check all the teeth. This is done in order to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
- Examine the child’s bite. Overbite and underbite are easier to fix while the patient is still young. This will give the dentist enough time to correct the bite as early as possible.
- Look for the possible occurrence of issues in the jaw, gum, and teeth.
- Send your child for an X-ray examination, which is usually recommended for children between 5 to 6 years old.
- If needed, he might perform a professional dental cleaning.
- Explain proper oral care to your child in a friendly manner.
After the procedure, the dentist will discuss the result of his examination and answer the parents’ questions and concerns.
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems of children. When the growth and development of their teeth are compromised at an early age, they could suffer serious consequences as they grow up. Be sure to bring them to the dentist regularly for a thorough check-up.