Your Child’s First Dentist Visit
By: Pediatric Dentist Dr. Aline Dufresne
Your child will have many firsts when they’re growing…including their first dentist visit! While going to the dentist can seem unnecessary when your child is so young, their first dental visit is actually very significant.
Did you know that your child’s baby teeth are important, even though they’ll eventually fall out? Baby teeth help set the stage for healthy adult teeth to grow in, which is why it’s so important to take your child to the dentist when they’re young. In fact, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends children visit a dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts and no later than age 1. Read on to learn what you can expect when you first bring your child to the dentist.
What Happens at Your Child’s First Dentist Visit
At your child’s first dentist visit, our team will not only help your child feel comfortable with the dentist, but we’ll also help you be more knowledgeable about what to expect for your child’s oral health as they get older. Here are a few things you can expect at your child’s first dentist visit:
- We’ll go over the development of your infant or toddler's mouth. We’ll discuss teething and ways you can make this phase more comfortable for your child.
- We’ll discuss oral hygiene and go over the benefits of fluoridated toothpaste and its proper usage. You’ll learn the proper technique for brushing and flossing your child’s teeth to ensure maximum effectiveness.
- We’ll give dietary recommendations to keep teeth healthy and prevent decay. Baby teeth have a thinner layer of enamel than adults do, so it’s important to choose food and drink for your child that are low in sugar and acid.
- We’ll go over habits such as thumbsucking and pacifier use and explain how they impact the development of your child’s teeth.
- Our team will provide tips on how to protect your children's teeth from trauma and what to look for in case of trauma.
- Your pediatric dentist will perform a comprehensive dental exam where we will examine your child's occlusion (bite), teeth and soft tissues (gums, cheeks, and lips).
- We will clean your child's teeth. Depending on their age, we will sometimes use a manual soft-bristled toothbrush for your child's cleaning. Our goal is to show proper hygiene techniques that you can follow at home.
- We will apply fluoride to protect your child’s teeth from decay. Fluoride treatment is an important part of keeping your child’s teeth healthy as they develop. Learn more about fluoride.
What If My Child is Scared at the Dentist?
It’s common for children to have dental anxiety and be fearful of their first dentist visit. However, our caring staff is trained to help children feel more comfortable at their dental visits and to calm their nerves and anxiety.
Children under the age of 3 will frequently be apprehensive and will not willingly sit on the dental chair. If this is the case, we can perform a knee-to-knee exam where your child lays back on your knees and rests his head on the pediatric dentist's lap. Sometimes called the lap-to-lap technique, this is usually more comforting for the child, as they can still see you while being examined and feels less vulnerable.
Remember that children are very perceptive and often mirror their parents’ behavior. If you are visibly anxious about your child’s dentist visit, your child will likely be anxious as well.
Our caring teams are excited to meet you and your child and to help establish a lifetime of good oral health. You can request an appointment with us at the link below. See you soon!