Your child’s first pediatric dentist visit is an exciting milestone! With that being said, it is completely normal to be nervous about the experience.
But, with proper preparation, you will be able to have an enjoyable experience. In this article, we outline what parents should expect during your child’s first dental appointment and some tips on how to make your dental experience a great one.
When Should I Go?
Prevention care for children should begin early. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children have their first dental visit between 2 to 3 years old. Toddlers should see the dentist twice a year or about every six months.
We advise parents to schedule their child’s first dental appointment between 2 to 3 years old as a proactive preventative measure. By visiting the dentist early, our team will be able to prevent cavities before they form. Baby teeth are beginning to erupt at this stage in their development, and therefore, discovering any minor problems before they become major concerns is critical. Going to the dentist early will be educational for you and show your child how important their teeth are.
The Visit Expectation
During your first dental visit, it is typically a quick appointment where our dentist will do a short exam, discuss oral health, and ask questions. The visits for children are intended to help identify any problems in development and educate parents, so be prepared to spend most of the appointment answering questions.
On your little one’s first dental visit, our dentist will perform a simple exam first. During the first exam, our dental hygenist will perform a simple teeth cleaning, which includes flossing. After the initial cleaning, our dentist will examine your child’s teeth and address any concerns regarding oral health.
Discussing Oral Hygiene
Once the cleaning and exam are completed, our dentist will discuss your child’s oral hygiene with you. The remainder of the appointment will include dental recommendations. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions regarding your concerns. Common topics that during this conversation include:
- Cavity prevention
- Oral habits a child has developed, such as sucking on a thumb
- Tooth development
- Diet’s effect on oral health
Helpful Reminders Before Your Visit
Your child expressing fear or worrying about visiting the dentist is completely normal. With that in mind, our team has put together a list of few tips to help your child cope and feel more at ease.
As a family dentistry practice, Park Avenue Dental is excited to build a friendly relationship with every member of your family including your little one. We encourage that before your child’s first dental appointment, that you bring them into the office for a pre-visit. For your next dental visit, bring your child, and another adult, along! They’ll see that you have a great relationship with your dentist and that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Going to the dentist is a huge milestone for your child. During this experience, parents can sometimes transfer their anxieties to their children. A way to combat this is to discuss the dentist with your child in a positive way, take a breath before you take your child in, stay upbeat, and act excited about the visit.
It is important to note; you want to demonstrate that the dentist is not a scary person. Avoid telling your child jokes about how scary the dentist or dental exam is.
Read Books and Watch Videos About Dental Visit
Children will feel more at ease visiting the dentist if they see their favorite character or superhero visiting the dentist. Videos that portray dental visits in a positive light such as Daniel Tiger and Sesame Street show children what to expect from an actual dental visit.
Additionally, reading books about a positive dental experience can reinforce that going to the dentist is fun and important. By showing this to your child beforehand can help them feel more at ease and prepared for their first visit.
If you notice that your child is feeling anxious about their first dentist appointment, you can help them feel more at ease by demonstrating positive reinforcement. You can express positive reinforcement by motivating them to conquer their fears and be brave. After their appointment, continue to cheer on your child and let them know that they’ve accomplished something big.
Bring Their Favorite Toy
Bring your child’s favorite toy or stuffed animal along with you to the appointment. This will help your child feel more comfortable during their visit. The toy can serve as a model and help the dentist illustrate what they will do on the toy first to help the child understand all the components of the appointment. By seeing a familiar face go through the process, your child will be able to feel safe and secure.
Your Child’s First Dental Appointment with Park Avenue Dental
Your child’s first dentist appointment should be an exciting experience. Our team of dentists take every measure to ensure a comfortable appointment for your child.
Ready to make your child’s first appointment? At Park Avenue Dental, we understand how important pediatric dentistry is to your children’s health. To learn more about our pediatric dentistry office or to schedule an appointment, call our office today!