As a parent, you may be wondering how to prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist. Here are some tips that will help ease the process and hopefully get your child excited about going!
Your children’s teeth are important, so they need to go to the dentist every six months. Dental care is an investment in their future health and well-being. This blog post has best tips for taking your child to the dentist including choosing a time of day when they’re awake but not too tired, what type of clothing should be worn during dental visits, how much water should drink before and after dental appointments.
When should I bring my baby in for their first dental visit?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that babies should have their first dental visit at 12 months old. However, it can be as young as six months if you notice any cavities or tooth decay on your child’s teeth.
What to Expect at the Dentist
It’s normal to feel nervous about bringing your child for their first dentist visit. Here is a guide on what you should expect and some helpful tips:
- The dentists will speak with both parent and child before any treatment, educating them on everything that will happen during the appointment.
- Children may be given a small gift or toy to help ease anxiety while waiting in the lobby.
- Every staff member at the office receives special training in how to work with young children so they are prepared!
- It can be stressful if kids don’t understand why dental care is important as it seems like an imposition on their routine and schedule but studies have shown better oral health leads to educational success later in life. With these points in mind, you can feel more confident about bringing your child to the dentist.
- The first visit is a chance for them to get comfortable with all the dental tools and instruments that will be used–a great opportunity for parents.
- One final tip: tell your kids what they should do when they’re at their appointment so there are no surprises!
Babies will be sitting in your lap during the appointment. There is no need to bring toys or entertainment for a baby unless you want them to have something else to focus on rather than the dentist. It may also help if they’re strapped with some sort of support as well, such as a car seat or carrier.
If you notice any cavities or tooth decay on your child’s teeth before six months but don’t know what dentist might work best for your family, then it would be ideal to wait until after six months so that they can begin brushing their own teeth and start receiving regular checkups from when they are old enough to sit on their own.
It’s also a good idea to prepare your child by showing them pictures of the dentist office as well as providing an explanation about what will happen during the appointment. It is recommended that you feed your baby before bringing him or her in so they won’t be cranky when sitting at the dentist’s while waiting for his turn, but not too much because it might lead to choking if they throw up during treatment. It may also help if you bring some sort of toy or distraction for them with you since there isn’t anything else planned besides the actual dental visit itself during this time period and no one knows how long treatment may take place depending on age and severity of teeth issues.
You should try to pick a time that is between the hours of one and three in the afternoon because this will be when your child’s attention span will still last since they are not too tired. It would also help if you wear clothing that make it easy for them to sit comfortably without their clothes getting dirty so choose colors such as light blue or white, avoid wearing anything with buttons on it which may get stuck in their mouth should they decide to bite something like shirts or sweaters, and dress them lightly but warmly depending on whether its winter or summer outside.
It is important for children to drink plenty of water before visiting the dentist office so keep an eye out for signs that your baby might need some extra hydration from dry lips, flushed cheeks, dribbling, or excessive drooling. It is also recommended that you give your child a drink of water after they leave the office as well to keep their mouth moist and clean.
List Of Items Needed For Dental Visits:
Water bottle, favorite toy/distraction (if applicable), clothing with easy access & minimal buttons/zippers, change of clothes in case something gets dirty!
To make sure that baby doesn’t get too tired from sitting down during treatment which could lead them to be cranky, it’s best if you feed them before bringing them into the dentist office so they’ll have enough energy but not too much because then there would be a risk for choking should they throw up while at the appointment. If possible try picking an afternoon time slot between one and three hours so that baby’s attention span will still last.
If your child has any allergies or refuses to eat certain foods like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, applesauce, etc., then try giving him a different type of food than what he normally eats because they might not be able to tolerate the smell sometimes at their first dental visit. It is also important for children to drink plenty of water before visiting the dentist office so keep an eye out for signs such as dry lips, flushed cheeks, dribbling , excessive drooling which may indicate dehydration needs from drinking too much fluids during treatment. Lastly make sure you review some pictures/videos with them beforehand about how things work in this environment including videos showing where they will be sitting, what they’ll be doing to prepare for the appointment such as brushing teeth or rinsing with mouthwash, and where you will get their x-rays taken.
Protect Your Children’s Teeth At Home
Here are some tips to protect your children’s teeth:
- Before teeth come in, clean gums with a clean, damp cloth.
- Start brushing with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) when your child’s first tooth appears. Use a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste after 3 years of age. This is when the child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
- Prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Don’t give children a bottle of milk, juice, or sweetened liquid at bedtime or when put down to nap.
- Limit the time your child has a bottle. Your child should empty a bottle in 5 to 6 minutes or less.
- Help your child brush his or her own teeth until age 7 or 8. Have the child watch you brush, and follow the same brushing pattern to reduce missed spots.
- Limit foods and treats that increase tooth decay. This includes hard or sticky candies, fruit leather, and sweetened drinks and juice. Offer fruit rather than juice. The fiber in fruit tends to scrape the teeth clean. Juice just exposes the teeth to sugar.
Choosing A Dentist
There are many different dentists in your area and it can be difficult to choose which dentist is best suited for your baby. There are several things that need to be considered before picking one such as whether or not they accept your insurance, how far away from where you live they’re located, what their dental fees include (i.e., x-rays vs cleanings), and also if they specialize in any certain areas like orthodontic work or oral surgery.
The first step would be determining who has the right credentials since this will make sure that whoever attends to your teeth is qualified enough so read reviews about them online by other patients of theirs – someone who has been in that dentist’s chair before.
What to Look for When Choosing a Dentist:
- A questionnaire about your dental history and they will ask you questions such as do you have any allergies, what type of dentures or bridges are you wearing currently, if there is an oral surgery emergency plan in place just incase something were to happen like losing one tooth/or multiple teeth. They may also want to know how often would be the best time schedule for their patients since every patient needs different intervals but most people go at least twice annually which includes cleanings, x-rays, and checkups – each appointment during this visit should only last between 30 minutes up until two hours depending on whether it was necessary based on the examination and the patient’s medical history.
- After an initial consultation, they’ll ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment within two weeks before proceeding with any other additional treatments.
- The dentist will also tell you what their fees are likely going to be for each procedure or filling that is needed in order to make sure it falls into your budget so that there won’t be too much stress on paying off dental visits later down the line once insurance claims have been processed which could take weeks if not months depending on where you live such as rural areas vs urban ones – this means some people might end up coming out of pocket even after having health coverage since most plans don’t cover 100% of dental procedures. Lastly, patients should find out more about what the dentist’s office hours are so that they can plan accordingly and also find out if there is a cancellation policy in place since it might be hard for some people to get time off work or change their schedule on short notice.
By using these tips to prepare your child for their first dental visit, you can help them feel confident and ready to hop up in the tooth doctor’s chair. If you feel like your child needs a little more encouragement or you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and we’ll be more than happy to give you some more pointers. If it’s time to schedule your child’s first dental visit, book an appointment with our pediatric dentists today!