A CHILD'S FIRST DENTAL VISIT
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit by age one or by the eruption of their first tooth (whichever comes first!) A baby's first dental visit sets the stage for lifelong oral health.
Dr. Mitko will advise you on how to promote good oral hygiene practices and best care for your child's dental needs, such as:
- Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking
- Oral development and airway issues that can lead to snoring, grinding, and sleep problems
- Tethered oral tissues, like tongue and lip ties, that may affect breastfeeding, speech, and oral development
- Ways to prevent dental accidents and how to handle them
- Teething and development milestones
- Important links between diet and oral health
The Importance of a First Dental Visit
Early dental care is important for your child's healthy development, and it can help to instill a lifelong love of good oral hygiene habits. Therefore, your child's first visit should be scheduled around their first birthday. This early visit allows the dentist to monitor the development of your child's teeth and gums, as well as teach the parents proper techniques for maintaining their child's oral health at home.
During this visit, your dentist will examine your child's mouth for signs of tooth decay or infection. If any are present, these issues will be resolved at this appointment to prevent further damage from occurring. To help prevent tooth decay, your dentist may also apply a fluoride varnish to your child's teeth during this first visit.
Making this appointment when your child is very young helps to promote a positive attitude toward the dentist and lays the foundation for a lifetime of excellent oral health. Additionally, having your child see a dentist at a young age also helps to prevent the need for more extensive restorative procedures in the future. These preventive measures are most effective if begun early in your child's life.
What To Expect During Your Child's First Dental Visit
Children's oral health is important for their overall health and development, and pediatric dentistry is an area of specialization that focuses on the dental care of infants, children, adolescents, and those with special needs. Many parents are anxious about their child's first dental visit. However, these appointments don't have to be stressful or scary! Following these tips can help prepare you and your child for their first dental appointment with the dentist.
Before Your Child's First Dental Visit
- Talk to your child about their upcoming dentist visit and what it might involve. If they know what's going to happen, they may be less nervous and more likely to cooperate during the exam and cleaning.
- Take them to see the office and meet the dentist beforehand to get them used to the environment and reduce any anxiety they may have when the day comes.
- Bring a favorite toy or blanket with you to help them feel more comfortable in the waiting room.
- Ask your dentist if they offer sedation to make your child more comfortable during their treatment.
- Schedule your appointment after nap time or after their mealtime to reduce the chances of being fussy.
During Your Child's First Dental Visit
- Lead by example! Your child will be watching and listening to your behavior, so if you're calm during your visit, they are more likely to be as well.
- Be open and honest with your dentist about your child's comfort level and needs so they can offer them the best care possible.
- Avoid using negative words like "hurt" or "pain" when describing what will happen during a cleaning or other procedures. Instead, emphasize how oral hygiene is good for the health of their teeth and gums.
- Offer positive reinforcements like stickers or small toys for good behavior throughout the visit.
If you're looking for expert care and advice regarding your child's dental care, contact Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry at 2 Coolidge St Suite 202, Hudson, MA 01749, or call (508) 658-0661.