Do you have a child who is approaching their first birthday? If so, you are likely beginning to think about their first dental visit.
This can be an exciting time for children and parents, or a very stressful one. Many parents are not sure of what to expect at their child’s first visit to the dentist, so they don’t feel properly prepared to advise their child. Thankfully, that first visit is likely to be one of the easiest things you will do for your child in their early years – as well as one of the most impactful.
When Should Your First Dental Visit Be?
Take your child to the dentist on or before their first birthday, or as soon as the first few teeth erupt. Some children do not yet have teeth when they first see a dentist – others may have a mouthful. Your dentist can give you great oral health care advice either way.
Preparing Your Child – and Yourself
It is okay to be a little bit nervous before your child’s first dental visit. After all, neither you nor your child may know what to expect. The best way to alleviate this stress is to ask questions of your child’s provider before the first visit. This way, you will know how to prepare your child – and what to expect, yourself.
Be sure to schedule your appointment early in the day, if possible. This prevents young children from being tired and cranky, which can lead an otherwise perfect appointment to be a bad experience for your toddler or preschooler.
On Your First Visit
What can you expect on the day of your child’s first dental appointment? Typically, the first visit will consist of a thorough examination of your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth, as well as advice and discussion with the dentist. This first visit should take about 30-45 minutes.
During the first visit – and perhaps at subsequent visits – your child’s dentist may demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques for your child, as well as for you. They may even provide you with toothbrushes, floss, and other materials, but not all dentists do this. Procedures such as fillings and examinations such as x-rays are not common during the first visit; you will typically need to schedule a follow-up appointment for these.