My Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
The First Visit to a Pediatric Dentist
Most new parents have questions about what’s best for their child. As each new stage of development approaches, new questions arise. The same is true of dental care as children grow. For most children, their first visit to the dentist should be between six months of age and one year old. Let’s take a look at what these initial pediatric dental visits might entail.
What will A Child’s First Visit Look Like
The first visit for a child to a dentist or pediatric specialist will be very basic. Much of this exercise is about setting a good foundation for the child and helping them get more comfortable with the new environment of a dental office. It’s also important in helping the child to form a relationship with their new dental provider.
One key element of the first few visits for a child is getting them to communicate and cooperate with the dentist. It’s often a successful visit when the child will listen to the dentist to allow them to say “aaah” and let them look into their mouth. Some kids will even let them take a closer look and may do a quick cleaning or brush. This first visit is crucial to setting the tone for future office visits to your dentist as the child grows.
The Next Steps for Pediatric Dental Visits
Once a child has been to the dentist for a few visits, they begin to understand the routine and hopefully will be even more cooperative due to their growing relationship with their “favorite dentist.” At this point, many pediatric dentist will begin to perform more involved exams with the children. It’s crucial for x-rays to be taken so they can identify and diagnose any issues related to tooth formation and the growth of the mouth and jaw.
Dentists can also begin to teach their patients the importance of daily brushing to begin the formation of good habits for oral hygiene. Typical office visits at this stage will include an in office cleaning with brushing, flossing, and polishing along with x-rays and other diagnostic tests.
Parental Roles and Responsibilities for Dental Visits
Parents often ask what they can do to help their child in the early stages of dental treatments. One of the most important things is for parents to remain calm and seek to be a calming influence on their child. If a parent becomes apprehensive then a child may also follow suit. Likewise if a parent is at ease it will also let the child know that everything is alright and they are in good hands.
In the event that a child becomes fearful or upset, parents are key to comfort them and help to get through the process of the visit. In many cases, pediatric dentist will ask parents to participate in the exam and work as a team to help the child engage and cooperate. Often a successful visit will hinge on the active participation and encouragement of the parents.
A Successful Foundation for a Dental Future
One thing to keep in mind is that these early steps of the dental process are laying a foundation for the future. This is why it’s so important for parents to initiate regular dental visits for their young children. Finding a good family dental plan can also help with covering visits. Not only will kids benefit from keeping their teeth clean and diagnosing any potential issues, they will begin to learn the basic life skills of oral hygiene. This can help kids start to build healthy habits in their young lives that can benefit them for a lifetime. And maybe they’ll even thank their parents for it later down the road.
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