If there’s one thing all parents can agree on, it’s that children grow up quickly. Before you know it, it’s time for their first dental visit. This appointment can come with mixed emotions, from both parents and children alike. To ensure your child is as comfortable as possible, it’s important to prepare beforehand. Here’s everything you need to know about taking your child to the dentist for the first time.
When to Schedule a Child’s First Dental Visit
Young children often have sensitive teeth and gums, which makes them susceptible to tooth decay. Aim to schedule that first appointment either before their first birthday or as soon as you notice signs of their first tooth erupting. Most children will start to grow teeth at around six months of age. Although it may seem early, this preliminary visit is essential to ensuring your child’s mouth is in top-notch shape.
How to Prepare for the First Appointment
Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be nerve-wracking. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to prepare.
Choose an Optimal Time
It’s no secret that kids get grumpy. If your child is moody before their appointment, it may be difficult to calm them down. For the best results, try to schedule the dental visit at a time when your child is happy and full of energy, such as early on in the day. Avoid times when they may be cranky or tired (such as the end of the day or during nap times).
Bring Your Child’s Favorite Toy
You can prepare older children for a trip to the dentist by reading books, watching videos and even role playing the visit. Unfortunately, for the first appointment, most children are too young to mentally prepare this way. While you may not be able to explain the dentist to your child, you can make them more comfortable by packing an item they love. If your child has a favorite object, such as a stuffed animal or doll, bring it along.
Since your child is going to be undergoing an oral health check-up, you should avoid scheduling any appointments directly after meals. Otherwise, there may be food stuck in their mouth. Of course, you don’t want to wait too long after a meal either — if your child is hungry, they may act out. Ensure your child has eaten before going to the dentist, and keep snacks ready for after the appointment. In general, you should wait until about 30 minutes after the visit before letting them eat.
Write Down Questions
It’s normal to have questions about your child’s oral health. For example, you might be concerned about their teething habits, or you may be trying to decide which brand of toothpaste to use. Chances are, your dentist will end up answering many of your questions during the appointment. However, it’s helpful to have a list ready just in case. This way, you can guarantee all your concerns are addressed.
What to Expect During the Visit
It’s normal for children to be anxious at their first appointment. At Dental Excellence, we do everything possible to make our young patients feel at ease. Here’s what you can expect.
Becoming familiar with a new setting can go a long way in making children feel comfortable. Before the appointment, the Dental Excellence team will greet you and your child, answer questions and show you around the office. Then, we’ll quickly go through what you can expect for the remainder of the visit.
2) Oral Health Check-Up
Once the preliminary introductions are complete, we’ll move forward with the dental appointment. If your child is able to, they may sit on the patient’s chair. On the other hand, if your child is too young or too uncomfortable to sit on their own, we can do a knee-to-knee appointment. In this set-up, the parent sits on the chair and holds their child in their lap. The dentist will then sit across from the parent and check the child’s mouth. More specifically, they’ll examine the following:
By conducting a thorough oral health check-up, the Dental Excellence team can ensure your child’s gums are developing properly and detect problems like tooth decay.
3) Informational Session
Once the check-up is done, the Dental Excellence team will wrap up the appointment by sharing advice on maintaining your child’s oral health. We’ll review the following topics:
- How to clean your child’s gums/teeth
- How to ensure your child gets enough fluoride
- Which oral health products to use
- Dietary and nutrition tips
- Bad habits to look out for (such as thumb sucking or excessive pacifier use)
To help you fulfill your child’s oral health needs, we can connect you with an appropriately sized toothbrush, as well as toothpaste and floss. Our team will also answer any questions you may have. Overall, you can expect the entire visit to take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment Today!
Your child’s first dentist appointment is a big step. It goes without saying that you want it to fly by as smoothly as possible. At Dental Excellence, we have over 40 years of experience in providing high-quality family dentistry services to residents across Independence, Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit, MO. Our compassionate staff, coupled with our commitment to quality, makes us stand out from the crowd.
When you bring your child in for their first dental visit, you can expect to receive highly personalized service. Not only will we answer all your questions, but we’ll also go out of our way to make your child comfortable throughout the visit. Our ultimate goal is to ensure every child leaves with a happy, healthy smile. Request an appointment today to learn more!