So your child has just popped their first tooth or they may have a full set of pearly whites in their mouth already. However, you may be asking if it is too early for your child’s first dental visit. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has recommended that kids first dental visit be within the six months after that first tooth pops out or by their first birthday.
Why early childhood dental visits are important
Dental health for kids is as important as that of adults. Childhood dental visits will help to nip any gum, jaw or oral health issues in the bud or prevent them altogether. Beginning dental care at an early age will also help to reduce any future anxiety in your child during subsequent calls to the dentist. Be positive about the visit and prepare your little one beforehand. You could tell him that a dentist will help them get strong, white, healthy teeth. This will help alleviate any anxiety. Remember that you will play a huge role in ensuring that your kid’s first dental visit is positive.
What happens during the first visit?
A child’s first dental visit is usually short. It will also be pretty informal so as to encourage trust to be built between the dentist and the child. As a parent or guardian, you may be asked to hold your toddler as the dentist performs his examination. This will help them feel more relaxed in an unfamiliar environment. If asked to stay at the reception at any point during the visit, oblige, as it will create room for the pediatric dentist to gain the trust of your kid as they both get to know each other. Many pediatric dentist offices have toy boxes and other offerings that make kids relax and make the child’s first dental visit fun.
The dentist will have a look at the general teeth condition checking for cavities or growing tooth decay. The child’s bite and gum health will also be examined. If there’s need for application of a fluoride preparation it will be done, particularly if the teeth have stains.
It will be important to discuss with the dentist about toddler teething, dental developmental milestones, fluoride needs, and the best dental care and oral hygiene issues. If your child has developed or is developing oral habits such as lip sucking or thumb sucking this can also be discussed with the dentist. It may be easier for you to write down your questions so that you can have them fully addressed during your child’s first dental visit.
How often should you return?
Now that you have been to the dentist when should you take your kid back? You can take your kid back after 6 months and at a similar interval thereafter. But this period can be shortened if your child’s dentist requires you to visit in less than six months if any problems are detected during this first visit.