As your baby grows and develops, there are so many new milestones to enjoy along the way. You’ll be photographing or video that first smile, the first crawl, first words, and first steps. Before you know it, your child is going to get his very first tooth, and when you grab a photo of that first little tooth popping through, you also need to start thinking about your child’s oral health.
When to Schedule Baby’s First Dentist Appointment
Many new parents aren’t sure when they should take their baby in for that very first dental appointment. While most children don’t have a dental visit until after the age of two, dental professionals actually recommend that you take your baby in for that first visit by the age of one. Baby teeth generally begin coming in at about six months, so seeing a dentist for the first time at the age of one is perfect. Since tooth decay continues to be a problem of epidemic proportions in young children, starting early with good dental care and routine checkups is important. Having the first visit while your child is still very young can also help prevent fear of the dentist in the future. After that first visit, then it’s important to keep up with regular dental visits every six months for cleanings and checkups.
Choosing the Right Dentist
It’s important to choose the right dentist for that first dental appointment and beyond. When making your decision, look for a dentist that has experience working with children. It’s important that the dentist can interact with your child and make sure he is comfortable during the appointment, and this is something that takes practice and patience. A dentist who deals with children regularly will know the right techniques to connect with children and keep them comfortable and relaxed while taking good care of their oral health. Before choosing a pediatric dentist, you may want to take the time to read online reviews from other parents to find out if they were happy with the way the dentist worked with their children.
What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
If this is your first child, you may be wondering what you should expect at that first dental appointment. A pediatric dentist will probably ask you about your child’s medical history and drug allergies. Your dentist will ask you if you have any special concerns as well. During that first appointment, a good dentist will work on getting your child comfortable within the office setting, including the dental furniture and equipment used in the office. Your pediatric dentist will also provide you with guidance and information on the best oral hygiene practices so you can take the best care of your child’s teeth at home.
You may be surprised to find that your pediatric dentist may discuss your child’s diet with you during that first dentist appointment. Since tooth decay is such a huge problem in children, the right diet is very important. Sipping juices constantly from a sippy cup or bottle can result in decay. Regularly snacking on crackers, cookies, and fruity snacks can also be a problem. The pediatric dentist can give you suggestions on how to modify your child’s diet for the best oral health, and the use of additional fluoride may also be recommended for your child.
As you prepare yourself for that first dentist appointment, make sure you begin with oral hygiene practices when your child gets his first tooth. Start by brushing the tooth with a soft toothbrush early. Once your child has two teeth that are touching, begin using floss. Keep up this oral hygiene routine daily so your child is accustomed to his teeth being touched. Reading stories about going to the dentist or even playing dentist with your child can also help make that first appointment easier. Schedule plenty of time for the first appointment and make sure your child is well fed and rested before you head in for the visit. This way you make sure that your child is as comfortable as possible. And it’s also important for parents to relax. Make sure you’re relaxed so your child doesn’t feel your tension as you head in for that first, important visit to the dentist.