First Trip to the Dentist
Can you remember your first trip to the dentist? If you can, your parents probably left it a little later than they should have. Ideally, your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen within 6 months of getting their first tooth. But why should a dentist look at your child’s teeth when they are still so young and their teeth are still so new?
A dentist will be able to assess your child’s mouth for other problems that may only be noticed much later on. For example, a dentist can determine whether the bite will be properly aligned, and preventative dentistry such as fluoride treatments may be started before weak teeth begin to decay. Even if your child has no dental issues, starting dentist’s visits while they are still so young will make it easier for them to get used to the dentist, calming fears that might make dental visits difficult if you wait until there is some kind of problem.
Since your child and your dentist will build a good relationship during six-monthly checkups, your child will enjoy learning about oral hygiene when old enough to do so, and will be more likely to comply when called on to brush teeth or floss.
What will the first dental appointment be like?
First dental visits are trauma free, so there’s no need to gear yourself up! The first checkup will be relatively brief, after all, there are few teeth to check. All the same, it’s time to see how susceptible your tot’s teeth are to decay, and you’ll be able to form a clearer idea of how much dentistry he or she will need later on. You’ll also get good advice on how to look after your child’s teeth. Dietary tips and advice on habits such as thumb-sucking form part and parcel of the first appointment.
Tips for parents
Whatever you do, don’t create the impression that a dentist’s visit is going to be scary or unpleasant. The first checkup will be quite fun and relaxed, and your little one is bound to enjoy the attention and all the new and interesting things there are to see in a dentist’s office. Far from being an object of fear, the dentist’s chair is bound to be seen as a great toy! Keep it fun, relaxed and positive, and your child won’t be inclined to act up.
Build up a positive attitude during the early years by using kids’ books, cartoons and stories that illustrate how important dentist’s visits really are, and tell your little one that the dentist is going to keep their smile beautiful.
To prevent waiting-room boredom, allow your child to bring favorite toys along. Kids get fractious when there isn’t enough to do, so ensure that they’ll have plenty to keep them diverted.
If your child does behave badly, the dentist will know how to calm them down. Don’t turn it into an issue, or your child will start developing a negative attitude to dentist’s visits long before becoming acquainted with the drill.
By building happy associations with dentistry, you’ll be making your life, and your child’s, a whole lot easier!