Many parents may feel overwhelmed thinking about their child’s first dental visit. By understanding what a first appointment entails and how to prepare for it, we can help eliminate those first visit jitters and make the experience a positive one. This guide will answer some common questions about the preparation and expectations of your child’s first dental visit.
When should I schedule the appointment?
The ADA (American Dental Association) and AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommend your child see a dentist by their first birthday or within six months after their first tooth appears, whichever is first. By establishing a dental home early, many dental problems can be avoided such as pacifier teeth or baby bottle decay. Consistent dental visits will instill a sense of security that ensures a child is comfortable to continue oral care as they mature.
In addition, helpful tips regarding infant feeding, brushing habits, tooth decay prevention, and general diet can be discussed with the dentist before a potentially larger problem arises.
How should I prep my son or daughter?
Have your child lie down and try brushing from overhead. This will help your child prepare for the necessary position in a dental chair as well as allow you to brush more accurately. You may also look for books at your local library that will explore what a visit may look and feel like such as:
- The Berenstain Bears Go to the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Curious George Visits the Dentist by H.A. Rey
- The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi
- Doctor Desoto by William Steig
You may also want to call the dental office and ask if your child can be given a quick tour just before the appointment so you are both familiar with the area your child will be seen in.
How should I prep myself?
In addition to getting your child ready for a first dentist appointment, it is a good idea to prepare yourself as well. Ask family and friends for dental professional referrals and make sure to research the dentist/practice you choose. Determine whether a pediatric dentist would be best for your family. Pediatric dentists have extra training to help address the emotional, physical, and behavioral needs of all children. By using child-friendly language, pediatric dentists are able to alleviate the anxiety that children may experience prior to their appointment and deliver great oral care from an early age.
Also, write down any specific questions you have about your child’s dental habits or oral health, so you don’t forget to ask the dentist before you leave the appointment.
Remember, including a dental professional to your child’s wellness regimen and starting your child off with consistent oral care will prepare them for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Our caring, compassionate staff at Lindner Dental Associates will be with you every step of the way. No matter what questions you have, we are here to help. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or just learning more about our practice, give us a call today at (603)624-3900!