A toddler’s first dentist visit is an important step in safeguarding their oral health. As a first time parent, you might not know when to schedule your youngsters first appointment. In addition, you might feel anxious, not knowing what to expect.
It is recommended that parents schedule a child’s first visit with a pediatric dentist by age one or when the first tooth erupts. Book the appointment based on whichever event occurs first.
After the initial dental exam, your dentist will determine how often you should book future appointments. The general rule of thumb is twice yearly visits spaced six months apart.
It is common for a parent to take their toddler to the same family dentist that they see. This can work well if the dentist is good with young children. Otherwise, seek a pediatric dentist who specialized in treating children.
Pediatric dentistry involves additional training focused on children and their unique developmental needs. In addition, a children’s dentist is prepared to deal with difficult, anxious, crying, squirming or otherwise unhappy or uncooperative youngsters.
With that in mind, search for a dental office that understands the needs of the entire family. Some clinics offer weekend and evening appointments to help accommodate busy school and work schedules. Also look for emergency dentistry options. Today, many dental offices offer convenient online booking to make managing appointments easier.
A pediatric dentist should have a comfortable, kid-friendly office environment. Look for a practice that’s decorated with little ones in mind. The dental staff should be friendly, entertaining, and patient. Every team member your child encounters should love what they do, and that dedication should shine through during every visit.
The first visit will be fast and informal. Your child will be introduced to the dentist and staff. The goal is to get the child comfortable and familiar with the dental office environment. You may be encouraged to hold the youngster during the examination if the child seems anxious or fearful. But ideally, many dentists prefer that parents wait in the sitting area while they get to get acquainted with the toddler. During the exam, the dentist will look for signs of tooth decay and inspect your child’s gums, jaw alignment, and bite.
A dental hygienist may perform gentle teeth cleaning during the first visit. This depends on the child comfort level.
After the first visit, have a discussion about how your child felt during the appointment. Encourage your little one to communicate their feelings by reminding them of a book that you read about going to the dentist and then asking them if they felt the same way.