The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) recommend that children visit the dentist by their first birthday. We recommend coming even earlier since this will allow us to address issues that could harm your child's teeth. For instance, early care can help prevent dental disease. It will also help your child to become comfortable with a dentist. This can be especially important if an emergency arises. Your child will already be comfortable going to the dentist so they will be calm while we fix the issue.
Preparing For Your Visit
In order to be prepared for your visit, explain to your child that the dentist is the person who will count and clean their teeth. You can make this fun by role-playing with your child. You can be the dentist and your child can be the patient. You can show how it will go at the dentist. Then, it will be fun when you go to the dentist. Watching videos online of their favorite character going to the dentist is also a great technique to help them get comfortable with their first visit.
During your child's first visit, we will focus on education. We will go over proper brushing and flossing techniques, as well as information about nutrition and breast-feeding. We will also talk about oral habits, such as sucking on thumbs and pacifiers, grinding teeth, and biting nails.
Your Role During the Visit
During the first visit, you will hold your baby in your lap while we conduct the examination. That will cut down on the fear and anxiety. We will judge your child's anxiety level, cavity risk and if able to in a non-threatening manner will clean, floss, and x-ray your children's teeth. Lastly we will go through a kind of well-baby check for the teeth. If your child needs any type of treatment, we will create a written treatment plan and go over it with you.
Going to the dentist does not have to be frightening for young children. You can make it fun before your kids even leave the house. Start by reading books or watching videos of their favorite characters going to the dentist. You can find these by Googling "(Character Name) going to the dentist." Also playing role-playing games can assist in making them feel comfortable. Act like the dentist and have your child sit in the chair. If your child is old enough, they can also play the role of the dentist so they can see how it works from the other side.
Then, let your child know that the dentist will count their teeth and use an electric toothbrush. Assure him that it will be fine and that everyone goes to the dentist, but don't overdo it. Remember that when you're calm and relaxed, your child will be calm and relaxed.