It’s a nerve-racking scenario for both parents and their children to be in – baby’s first dentist appointment.
You haven’t slept much the night before. You’re afraid of how your child will react to the experience. Will it be painful for them? Will they be afraid to go back?
There has got to be an easier way to prepare your kids for the dentist.
At WhiteWing Dental, our team of McAllen dentists want nothing but positive thoughts, feelings, and experiences for our patients. That’s why we have devised this post full of tips you can use to make this first experience a lot less scary for both children and parents.
When should I first take my child to the dentist?
Normally, when your baby gets his or her first tooth or turns 1 year old, is the perfect time to schedule your pediatric dentist appointment.
This is a good time to start as it will reveal how your child’s dental growth is going and what you can expect.
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Isn’t that a little too young?
Children as young as 1-year old are at risk of developing cavities.
This commonly happens when children fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. The liquid remains in the mouth and bacteria begins to pool around the teeth, eroding the enamel and creating cavities.
PREPARING BEFORE THE VISIT
Establish good habits early and get rid of bad ones.
Getting your child familiar with brushing at an early age will get them used to dental examinations. If you spend some time brushing your child’s teeth facing you, even if it’s just water and a soft-bristle brush safe for babies, your child will be more comfortable with the dentist doing it too.
Also, if your child still has a sucking habit, inform the dentist. It may affect the teeth and jaws of your child.
>Normally acceptable for toddlers under 2 ½ years of age, prolonged sucking in adolescent children can result in changes to facial form for life, respiratory, dental, and even speech problems. Easy and fun tasks like eating a slice of pizza could become problematic. Cases like open bites are also a result of prolonged sucking habits.
Familiar isn’t always the way to go.
Parents should do their homework. You may trust your dentist and have an established rapport, but he or she may not be a pediatric dentist.
Teeth aren’t just teeth. An adult set of teeth requires a different area of study than a child’s. It’s the same thing as going to the doctor. You wouldn’t send your child to a general practitioner. You’d send them to a pediatrician. The same applies to dentists.
Of course, our dentists at WhiteWing Dental are capable of handling pediatric dentistry.
You’ve found a pediatric dentist. Now what?
You can save some time on the first day by asking if the pediatric dentistry you’ve found could mail you the forms that you need to sign. Less time in the office is a good thing when you have an uneasy child unfamiliar with his or her surroundings.
Another great strategy is to create a list of any kind of medicines that your child is taking or any type of allergies they may have. If they have a medical condition, let the dentist know.
It would be best to come prepared. Your new kid-friendly dentist will thank you for it.
The First Visit
You should feel comfortable in your pediatric dentist’s office. Consider it your child’s “dental home”.
The dentist should be kind, caring, and focused on delivering the care your child needs. Your child needs to feel comfortable as well. To encourage this feeling, bring along their favorite toy or two. The familiarity these items will bring will ease your child’s stress.
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Bring some support for yourself too. Having another adult with you, as well as one that is familiar with your child, can help ease the tension in the room. Another set of eyes allows you to have the ability to speak comfortably with the dentist.
That being said, it may be best to bring your child alone without other children. Other children can be an easy distraction for him or her, causing a delay in the procedures or even spook them (we know how big brother or sister can be at times).
What to expect during.
The normal procedure for a child’s first time at the dentist usually begins with a brief conversation about the child’s dental and health history. Afterward, a discussion between you and the dentist can be had about your concerns or any general questions you may have.
Next, the dentist inspects your child’s oral health. The dentist may talk to you about your child’s dental development, teething, your child’s bite, your child’s gums, factors that affect diet and hygiene practices, and prevention of trauma to your child’s mouth.
Next, the dentist will recommend how to clean your child’s teeth, advice on hygiene and dietary options, and particular toothpastes and fluoride that can fortify your child’s oral health.
Finally, a simple cleaning may take place. Once this has been completed the dentist should provide you with information on how he or she expects your child’s development to continue within the next few months.
The session ends with a suggested schedule for follow-up care.
WhiteWing Dental is pleased to offer dentistry services for all ages. From tots to grandma, our McAllen dentists have the experience and skills to provide top rate dental care.
Of course, more trips to the dentist will not only make your child accustomed to the dentist’s office but also establish a healthy routine of getting their teeth cleaned and inspected every few months as they grow up.
WhiteWing Dental would be honored to grow alongside you and your children as your primary dental care facility. Reach out to us today for a consultation at (956) 686-5577.