Are you preparing for your child’s first dental appointment? Then, you may be wondering what you need to do. To help both of you get ready, you should check out the following tips.
Schedule the Appointment Early
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should have their first dental appointment when they are one year old or within six months of their first tooth erupting. If you’ve missed this date, that’s fine. It’s never too late to start quality dental care, and you can schedule your child’s appointment now.
Choose a Pediatric Dentist
To make the first dental appointment as positive as possible for your child, consider choosing a pediatric dentist. These dentists have specialized training in the issues pertaining to children. Beyond that, they also tend to set up their clinics so that they are inviting to children, filling their lobbies with interactive toys and decorating with bright colors. Pediatric dentists are also used to working with children. They have calm demeanors, lots of patience, and the ability to talk directly with their young patients.
Let Your Child Know What to Expect
This step is especially important if your child is prone to anxiety about new places or experiences, but talking with all children can be useful. Before the first dental appointment, spend some time with your child, explaining what to expect. You may want to read books or watch videos about a child’s first dental appointment. There are a few videos on YouTube, and your local librarian may be able to recommend some books.
You may also want to do a play exam on a doll or stuffed animal. Don’t introduce any fear about the experience. If you have dental fears, don’t bring them up to your child. Ideally, you want their first experience to be as calming and non-fearful as possible.
Help Your Child Develop Positive Dental Habits
Before their first dental appointment, you should help your child develop positive dental habits. Whenever possible, you should start this experience when your child is as young as possible. Before they have teeth, you can clean their gums after feedings, with a clean piece of gauze. Then, as they get older, you can brush their teeth.
Eventually, your child can start to brush their own teeth, but you should probably do a follow up brushing daily until they really master the habit. For older kids, some parents continue to brush their teeth once a week as needed. If your child is used to you brushing their teeth, they will find it easier to have a dentist poke around in their mouth during their first dental appointment.
Your child may feel more relaxed if you get involved when they are at the dentist. Go back to the exam room with your child. If they are little, you may want to hold them through the exam, and even if they are older, they might feel more comfortable if they can see you from the exam chair. Listen to the dentist’s instructions on brushing and flossing so that you can help your child keep up with these habits after the appointment.
To learn more and to set up the first dental appointment for your child, contact us at Funtastic Dental today. We look forward to treating your child.