Tips for Children’s Dental Care: Planning for a Trip to the Dentist
Planning for your child’s first trip to the dentist can seem scary for both the parent and the child, but it doesn’t have to be. If they need to see a dentist for a cleaning, or to have a cavity filled or x-rays were taken, it doesn’t have to be overly difficult. Let’s look at several tips for preparing for a trip to the dentist so that it’s as simple as possible.
As you plan for your child’s trip to the dentist, try the following:
Visit the Kid’s Dentist with a Parent
Before the child’s first dental appointment, schedule a time for them to visit the dentist with you for an appointment. This way they can see what happens during an examination first hand. Allow them to watch while you have the dentist clean your teeth or fill a small cavity so that they can see what happens during these procedures. This provides you with a chance to explain to them that although the equipment makes scary noises, it’s not causing any damage to your mouth or hurting you and that the dentist is using it to clean and fix your teeth.
Read Books About Dental Visits
You may also want to take the time to read pictures books about taking trips to the dentist before your child’s appointment. This will help prepare them for a visit to the dentist and familiarize them with what to expect. There are numerous books written about trips to the dentist for all age levels so that children can begin to get used to the idea.
Tour the Dentist’s Office
Ask the dentist’s office about scheduling an appointment to come in for a tour so that your child can meet the doctor, the hygienists, and the office staff. This will provide you both with a chance to see the inside of the office and how everything works, how the tools are used, how the office is laid out, and more. Sometimes even simple things like knowing who works there and what their names are, or knowing how to find the bathroom in an unfamiliar place, can help make your child less anxious about their first visit.
Learn Correct Oral Hygiene
Spend some time on a regular basis helping your children learn how to brush and floss, as well. The better that they are able to care for their teeth on their own, the less likely it is that they’ll need to have lengthy lectures from staff members about how to do so, which could provoke anxiety. In addition, these are just good habits to get into that will serve your child well for a lifetime.
When it’s time to schedule your child’s first appointment, it will go more smoothly if you’ve taken the time to follow these steps. Help your son or daughter visit the dentist with as little anxiety as possible by preparing them well in advance, so that they know the people in the office, know how a cleaning works, and know precisely what to expect on the day of their appointment.
Pediatric Dentistry FAQs
What age should a child go to the dentist for the first time?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age.
When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?
At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using toothpaste in the amount of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is age 3. Brush gently all around your child’s baby teeth — front and back.
What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.
How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.