When should I start taking my child to the dentist?

When should I start taking my child to the dentist?

As a parent, you always want to do the best for your child. Every aspect of their health and care is important. Here are some tips for oral hygiene, as well as advice on when you should start taking your child to the dentist.

The Earlier, the Better

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend taking your child to the dentist as soon as you see that first tooth erupt. At this point, it is more about introducing your kids to the concept of a doctor examining his or her mouth with various instruments. The dentist will probably just peek into your kid’s mouth or let them sit in the swiveling chair, but it is still an important stage.

Your child will learn in a non-threatening environment that the dentist is a friend who cares about his health. When there is no problem with the teeth, there will be no pain and occurring fear on this first visit. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule that dentist appointment before the age of one. By the age of two, it may be too late.

This first visit is also a great chance for you as a parent to ask the dentist about any questions or concerns you may have. Your dentist can give you a personalized consultation and tips for keeping your child’s teeth in tip-top shape.

During your second visit, it’s possible the dentist will ask you if it’s okay to step outside while he or she examines the child’s mouth. Don’t worry about this—it’s a great way to build confidence in your growing, independent child. And, to boost their own confidence, too! Each step is a new level of growth and learning for your kid, so make the most of it.

4 Ways to Prepare your Child for the Dentist

For many kids and their parents, going to the dentist is a scary ordeal. Perhaps they heard frightening things from other children or happened to see a film that left them with negative thoughts about a trip to the dentist’s chair. Otherwise, it can just be overwhelming seeing all the machines, lights and dental contraptions for the first time.

However, it does not have to be a traumatic experience at all. It is important to stay relaxed about this ordeal and ease your child into it. Here are a few things you can do to make each trip to the dentist with your child a smooth and even fun one!

1. Stay positive but realistic

If your child is the type to ask a lot of questions, try to answer them in a positive way. You don’t have to get into too many details. If it is their first time, you also don’t want to give them false hope. Saying something like, “Don’t worry, the dentist won’t pull any of your teeth,” may cause them to lose trust in you. If they do need a more serious treatment, they’ll end up being more upset.

2. Prepare for Tantrums

These are to be expected, as many kids are not open to a complete stranger examining them. If your child fusses on the first few visits, this is not a bad reflection on you as a parent. And rest assured that the dentist has seen plenty of children, all with very different moods! The best thing you can do is to be a source of comfort to your child, reassuring them and holding their hand if necessary.

3. Start Training with Good Oral Hygiene

Talk with your child about the importance of oral hygiene. Encourage them to brush and swish after eating, to take care of their teeth every day. Read stories that put the dentist in a positive light, and talk about why it’s important to keep cavities away. Teach your child that good teeth lead to good health for the whole body and that the dentist is there to help.

4. Play Dentist

In preparation for your first visit, you can pretend to be the dentist and show your child how the dentist may put a cleaning brush or hand mirror up to his or her mouth. Role play is often important in helping children understand certain concepts. If your child knows the routine is coming up, it will easier during the real thing. Your goal is to make your child feel as comfortable as possible so that when the time comes to get their teeth checked, it won’t be such a big deal. They’ll be prepared and know what to expect.

Even if your child has perfect teeth, it’s a good idea to go to the dentist for regular checkups at least twice a year. Pro-active and preventative care is the way to ensure great health.

If you or your family need professional oral care, give us a call today or schedule a visit. We have dentists with years of experience in caring for children’s oral hygiene. We work with all ages of patients, from toddlers to seniors. You’ll be in good hands, and we’ll be sure to make it a positive experience for your little ones.

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