Your child’s first dental appointment usually happens when your child is just a toddler. However, some kids are a little older and some are just babies at their first appointment. Wondering what to expect at your child’s first appointment? Here’s a look at what typically happens.
Typically, the dental appointment starts with an oral examination. The dentist looks at your child’s teeth and gums as well as their jaw bone. The dentist usually uses a metal scraper and a small mirror for the exam, and so that these tools aren’t scary to your child, the dentist may say that they’re “counting” your child’s teeth.
In most cases, your child will also get X-rays during the first appointment. The child has to bite down on small bitewings. For most children, these are comfortable, but they can cause a gag reaction in some children. To prepare your child for that part of the appointment, let them know that these simply provide a background so the dentist can get a clear shot of your child’s teeth.
Some dentists have X-ray machines that can take images while your child is in the dental chair. In other cases, your dentist may have the child stand in a room. Then, the equipment goes around their head.
Some dentists do a cleaning during your child’s first appointment, but depending on the age of the child, some dentists may wait until the child is a bit older for the first cleaning.
During the cleaning, the dentist or an oral hygienist brushes the teeth. Then, they help the child to rinse. Finally, they may have the child bite on a small mouth guard with a high-fluoride treatment. That sits on the teeth for a few minutes before it gets rinsed off.
Part of routine dental care involves education. The dentist or dental assistant may talk with your child about brushing, flossing, and other dental care. They may also talk about sugary snacks and drinks and how they can lead to cavities. In addition to covering dental care and nutrition, the dentist may ask you if you have any special concerns such as thumb sucking or other habits that may lead to issues down the road.
Making Your Child Comfortable
The experiences your child has at their first dental appointment can set the tone for their future as a dental patient. If your child has negative experiences, they may become afraid of the dentist. That can lead to serious issues. In fact, the vast majority of adults who don’t go to the dentist often, say that they don’t go because they are afraid of the dentist. In contrast, if your child has positive experiences, that can lead to positive feelings down the road. When your child feels positively about the dentist, they are more likely to get the care they need. That can help them avoid pain, discomfort, and decay as an adult.
At FUNtastic Pediatric Dental, we put fun in our name for a reason. We believe that kids deserve anxiety-free dental experiences, and we’re ready to provide that. From our No Cavity Club to our candy store, we have the elements your child needs for their first appointment. Contact us today.