When Should Your Child Have Their First Dental Visit?
Before we can get into our tips for preparation, you need to know the basics of child dental visits. One of the most frequently asked questions that our dentist near you receives is: “when should my kid come for their first dental appointment?” This is an excellent and important question, with a straightforward answer. Our team recommends that your child visit a dentist once they have celebrated their first birthday, or as soon as their first tooth emerges above the gum line, whichever comes first.
At your child’s first visit, our dentist will evaluate your child’s oral health and review issues such as teething and thumb-sucking, along with providing you with helpful tips for ensuring your child maintains good oral health between dental visits. Some of these tips will include:
● Teaching you brushing and flossing techniques to use with your child
● Providing you with information about healthy meals and snacks to promote your child’s oral health
● Tips for making your child feel enthusiastic about dental visits and looking after their teeth
After this initial visit, you should take your child to the dentist at the age of four, and the age of seven. After this, they should be having yearly dental checkups and cleanings. If you wait too long to schedule your child’s first dental visit, you risk missing existing dental issues that can cause problems with future development. Preventative dental treatment is the best form of dental treatment available, so do not hesitate to contact our dentist in New Westminster to book your child’s dental appointment today.
What to Expect During Your Child’s Dental Visit
Once you have scheduled your child’s dental appointment, you may wonder what to expect. Most first dental visits are used to gather information about your child and allow our dentist to introduce themselves to the parent and child. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect at your child’s first dental visit:
● A friendly greeting and introduction
● A brief examination of your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw
● If your child is one year old or older, they may also have a brief dental cleaning
If any poor habits are noted, such as thumb-sucking, our kid’s dentist near you will work with you to help mitigate such habits and prevent bite issues from developing down the line. Your child’s next dental visit can also be scheduled at this time.
How to Prepare Your Child For Their Appointment
Often, children feel nervous about visiting the dentist because it is a new environment that is unfamiliar to them. It is important to try to keep your child in a positive state of mind leading up to their first dental treatment. You should also encourage them to brush and floss (if they have teeth) prior to their initial appointment, and educate them on what to expect at the dentist. Here are some of our tips for preparing your child for their dental visit:
● Prepare a list of questions that your child has for the dentist. A good pediatric dentist will have no problems with answering any questions you or your child may have about their oral health and dentistry.
● Do a practice run of what will happen at the dentist. Have your child sit in a chair at home and perform a brief visual examination of their mouth. This will help them understand what to expect at the dental office, and will give you the chance to see if there are any issues in your child’s mouth that you want to discuss with their dentist.
● Read your child books about visiting the dentist. Some of our favourites include Curious George Visits the Dentist by Margaret and H.A. Rey’s, The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss, and Elmo Visits the Dentist by P.J. Shaw
● Set aside lots of time to get to and from the dentist. Take half a day off, or whatever else you need to do to ensure that your child has lots of time to prepare for the dentist, ask the dentist as many questions as they desire, and get comfortable back at home.
● Offer your child a reward for behaving at the dentist. Tell them they can buy a new toy, or that you will take them to movies after their dental visit to give them something to look forward to.
Most of the time, when parents spend time educating their children about the dentist and how important they are, children feel much more comfortable and happy at the dental office.
Establishing an Oral Hygiene Routine at Home
It is important to help your child maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine at home between their dental visits. Ensure that you teach your child how to brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, and show them proper flossing techniques. You can make brushing more fun by playing their favourite two-minute long song, or having a “competition” to see who can brush their teeth for a full two minutes.
Additionally, you should encourage your child to opt for healthy snacks over processed and sugary snacks. This will not only promote your child’s oral health, but it will do wonders for their overall health as well.
Ensure that you continue to take your child to visit a dentist at least once a year, as this will ensure that their oral health remains in excellent shape throughout their lifetime. Additionally, this will instill the importance of excellent dental hygiene and health into your child from a young age, setting them up for a healthy smile throughout adulthood.
Visit Artis Dental Centre
If you have a child who has developed their first tooth, or who is over the age of one and you have not scheduled them for a dental appointment yet, now is the time to do so. At Artis Dental Centre, we are happy to provide your child with high-quality dental care and a positive experience. Our pediatric dentist will educate your child about their oral health in the most child-friendly and compassionate manner possible. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated team of dental professionals to book your child’s first dental appointment today. We look forward to seeing them!