According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the first dental visit should be scheduled when the first tooth appears. Has your baby's first tooth erupted, or has your child just learned to sit still? Planning a dental visit is essential for your child's oral health. It is an opportunity to ensure that your child is developing properly while setting the foundation for future visits.
The first step in caring for your child's dental health is finding the right dentist. Finding a child-friendly dentist can help ensure the appointment goes smoothly. Try to schedule the visit when your child is likely to be least fussy, when they are well-fed and rested. Completing the required paperwork in advance is helpful. Find out if you can do so online and fill in any additional details when you get to the clinic. Call your insurance provider to confirm coverage details.
Prepare your child for the appointment by trying to explain what will happen. Your child may be too young to understand the details, but you can act out the checkup. Practice opening the mouth wide and counting the teeth. The idea is for the child to know someone will check their mouth. The internet provides tools to help you prepare for your child's dental visit. Watching fun videos can help demystify the process.
Talking excitedly about the visit will help reduce any dental anxiety. If the child appears nervous, making the appointment fun will help the child feel comfortable. Bring a stuffed animal or toy, and carry a treat to provide some distraction. Having an older sibling go first can help ease dental anxiety. If you have dental anxiety, you should know that you can pass on your fears to your child. Try to remain calm and discuss your concerns with the dentist.
The child can sit in the chair or on your lap, depending on their age or ability to sit still. The dentist will check the child's teeth, jaw, and gums to confirm proper development. The checkup helps detect signs of cavities and other oral issues. The dentist or hygienist will clean the teeth while explaining how to care for your child's oral health. The dentist will answer questions about your child's dental care and oral health.
During the appointment, the dentist will offer information about the child's dental health. Issues that you can discuss include the following:
Feeding for dental health.
Baby bottle and tooth decay.
Baby mouth cleaning.
Using a pacifier.
Creating a positive precedent for dental care can lay a foundation for lifelong oral habits. Helping your child enjoy the process will ensure that they look forward to future visits. As a parent, you should be able to know how your child is likely to respond during the appointment. Talk to the dentist so they know what to expect and prepare accordingly.
For more on what to expect at your child's visit to the dentist, contact Jonny Fisher DDS at our office in Pullman, Washington. Call (509) 383-8300 to book an appointment today.