How to Handle Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
Let’s face it for a child the idea of going to the dentist may be a scary proposition, however, it doesn’t have to be. With proper planning and coaching it can be a very beneficial experience that sets the stage for good long-term oral hygiene habits.
Your child’s first dental visit should ideally be about 6 months after the first tooth erupts or before their first birthday. Before this appointment it would be a good idea to coach your child to prepare them for this appointment by explaining to them what can be expected at the first visit. If you are unsure it is a good idea to talk to your dentist directly and ask what will be involved in this appointment.
Generally, the first visit is simply an introduction to the dental office and a ‘test drive’ of the dental chair. If your child is feeling comfortable, dental x-rays are taken, with a cleaning and gentle but comprehensive dental examination. But if they are anxious, we recommend rescheduling for another day. We want this to be a pleasant experience that sets a good tone for future visits.
Things that Dr. McCormick will be looking for during the first visit are:
- eruption of teeth
- health of the gums
Proper oral hygiene will also be discussed. To clean your child’s teeth use a warm damp cloth after feeding and avoiding baby bottle tooth decay by not allowing a child to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice at night. Most importantly, how you as the parent can reinforce proper brushing and flossing techniques by setting an example.