Living in a neighborhood with many young families, I get many questions from parents regarding infant and toddler oral health. Most parents recognize the importance of ensuring their children are off to a good start with their oral health but don’t know where to start. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we receive:
When should my child FIRST see a dentist, and why?
Ideally, six months after their first tooth appears or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. This is the perfect time for a dentist to examine the development of the child’s mouth and provide recommendations or special preventative care to protect against early childhood tooth decay (baby bottle decay), teething irritations, gum disease, or prolonged thumb- or pacifier-sucking.
How do I prepare my child and myself for their first visit?
Before the visit, ask the dentist or office staff what will take place during the appointment and plan a course of action for any reactions your child will have. Some toddlers will be fussy and squirmy, some will be frightened and cry, while others may not react negatively at all! These are all normal responses to a new setting and new people. Try to make the appointment something the child will look forward to – there are a number of children’s books about going to the dentist. Also, be sure to bring your child’s complete medical history for his or her dental record.
What happens during the first visit?
At our office, the first visit is simply a time to acquaint your child with our staff and our office. We recommend bringing your child with you to your next cleaning appointment so he or she can see mommy or daddy going through the motions. You may also be asked to sit in the chair with your child in your lap so we can do a gentle but thorough examination. Expect a child’s first visit to last between 15 and 30 minutes and include an examination, gentle cleaning, x-rays (when appropriate), a demonstration on proper tooth brushing, nutritional assessment, and fluoride application (where appropriate). At this time we can answer any questions you may have and make your child feel at home in our office.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please call our office at 614-866-1234 and we’ll be happy to assist you!