When Should My Child First See a Dentist?
Around 6 months after the first tooth grows in the child should visit the dentist, which puts their first appointment as scheduled just before their first birthday for most kids. However, the age and the exact time can vary child-to-child based on each child’s individual growth patterns. Providing this early visit provides children with a good example of how to keep their teeth clean and healthy early on in life. A habit that should hopefully carry on later into their lives. It also teaches them they don’t have to be terrified of the dentist and helps the fear not ever develop.
How Do I Prepare My Child for Their First Visit?
Talk about the appointment with the dentist first to know what to expect. Then talk to your child about the visit as their “first time” event. Make it exciting and anticipatory to get the child to want to go see the dentist for the first time. Prepare yourself that your child may be uncooperative, and know how to handle it. Young children may not sit still well and may require some extra patience and time to get acclimated to a new experience.
What Will Happen on the First Visit?
Many first appointments are just the dentist meeting with your child to get acquainted. If your child decides that he or she will be uncooperative or scared rescheduling may be necessary. Short successive visits will help the child get to know the dentist, and build trust between the pair. Children’s appointments should be scheduled earlier in the day when the child is more awake and refreshed. The parent may sit and hold many children that are under 36 months old.
Long as the child is a complaint, the visit usually should only last 15 to 30 minutes at the most. A gentle but thorough examination of the gums, tongue, oral tissues and any tooth buds in the mouth will be performed. A gentle cleaning of the tartar and plaque buildup in the mouth when desired by the parent, or determined to be needed by the dentist (usually when enough teeth grow in that they are close enough to touch each other). When the age advances to the proper point a demonstration of proper home cleaning will be in order as well as x-rays and an assessment of the need for fluoride.
The dentist should be able to answer any questions you have regarding care for your child’s teeth. The dentist should also work to keep your child comfortable and relaxed during their visit by creating a relaxed, non-threatening environment.
When Should the Next Visit Be?
Children should see the dentist every 6 months for routine maintenance and clean just like adults.
How Do I Find a Good Dentist for My Child?
Many general dentists will treat children as well, but if that’s not comfortable for you ask around. Word-of-mouth will provide some of the best recommendations you can imagine.
How Can I Protect My Child’s Oral Health at Home?
You need to be sure to pass on good oral hygiene habits to your child so they can use them between dental visits. This includes proper brushing twice per day and flossing once per day. Parents will generally help a child with these kinds of tasks till they are capable of doing them completely on their own. The age that a child can do that may vary with each child, but most children will be probably between 5 and 8 years of age.
A real plan to keep your child’s oral health a priority should be developed he day your child is born. Cleaning your infant’s gums with a damp cloth after each feeding. Once your child gets a tooth in you should brush it and each subsequent tooth that grows in with a soft-bristled brush. If you consider toothpaste before your child’s second birthday asks your dentist first. Avoid baby bottle tooth decay problems try to have your child off of bottles and onto sippy cups of some sort by one year of age. Never give your child juice, milk, or sweet drinks at bedtime as a pacifier.
You will need to help your children brush their teeth at night which is the most important time to brush. Our salivary flow slows at night so there is more of a chance of getting cavities, and this includes young children. Allow the child to brush first so they gain experience and confidence in their abilities to clean their own teeth, then follow up to ensure all plaque and tartar is removed. Usually, by age, 5 or so children will be able to take care of brushing their teeth for themselves. Also allowing children to watch you brush your own teeth and floss every day teaches them good hygiene as well as you set the example.
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or call us 909-465-1016. The Ramona Dentistry Team
“Where Family Comes First”