An Early Start with Family Dentistry is the Best Prevention
A dental appointment can be pretty uncomfortable – even for adults! Many children grow up fearful of the dentist, but your kids don’t have to. Child dental care can begin early, and it’s therefore recommended to start preparing them early!
A child’s first trip to the dentist can and should be a fun experience, as opposed to a frightening one. Here we’ve gathered some simple tips to help make sure your child’s first visit goes smoothly.
What Can You Expect from Your Child’s First Dental Check-Up?
A child’s first visit with a family dentistry professional is often quick. This first appointment is a chance for your dentist and little one to get acquainted in a friendly manner. The dentist will conduct a dental exam to spot any signs of decay, as well as examine your child’s bite, their gums, their jaw, and their mouth. Child dental care also includes cleaning any baby teeth that have already grown in.
A child’s first dental appointment is an excellent opportunity for parents to ask questions about how to maintain primary teeth. It’s also wise to book a follow-up visit once the initial consultation is done. Your child should go see the dentist every six months to ensure that their teeth and gums are healthy.
At What Age Should My Child Visit the Dentist for The First Time?
Planning your child’s first visit to the dentist can begin early! Dental and medical professionals recommend that a child visit the dentist by age 1 or six months after their first tooth arrives.
Infants under two years of age have usually already grown their first set of teeth. These teeth are often referred to as primary teeth or “baby” teeth. Many adults, however, do not know that primary teeth can suffer from cavities and tooth decay as well! Indeed, an infant who sleeps with a juice bottle or drinks milk (breast or formula) is at risk of developing a cavity if their teeth are not rinsed and wiped regularly, hence the need for dental care for kids.
Maintaining a child’s primary teeth is essential to their health because primary teeth help with chewing, are involved in speech development, help make space in a child’s mouth for permanent teeth and promote a healthy smile which can impact their confidence.
You can avoid stress and anxiety by getting dental care for kids at an early age.
A family dentist professional can also help give you advice on oral hygiene habits that will benefit everyone in your family.
Help Kids Learn Daily Dental Hygiene Practices
Getting the whole family involved and informed on healthy oral hygiene practices can help reinforce good habits. Younger children pick up cues from their siblings, so getting the older children involved will set a good example for little ones.
Making the whole process more fun can also instill good habits in young children. Flavored toothpaste, fun toothbrushes, a small hourglass to time the brushing and catchy songs while brushing can all help make the experience more fun.
Limit your child’s thumb sucking and use of a pacifier as such habits can cause problems later on in tooth growth and formation. Also, avoid giving your child sugary snacks and beverages as they can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Infants before the age of two should have their teeth wiped gently with a wet and clean washcloth. Children should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes every time. Remember to keep it fun and your children will keep these habits as they grow older!
Tips to Help Get Your Child Ready for The Dentist
You can begin talking to your child about their mouth and teeth at an early age. Show them the different parts of their mouth and what they can do to keep their mouth healthy. This will help your child become aware of their body and the role they play in staying healthy.
You can begin to incorporate fun games to learn about dental care for kids, brushing teeth, flossing and good oral hygiene habits by using books, songs, puzzles and games of make-belief.
It’s a good idea to bring your child along to your next dentist appointment. This will help them get acquainted with the environment beforehand. Watching their parents have a positive experience at the dentist can help your child feel less fearful.
Parents can also play make-belief and do a trial run at home with their child. You can set up a chair and put on gloves and pretend to do a dental exam, checking any baby teeth they have using a mirror.
Consider the timing of your appointment so that your child is not hungry or sleepy. Above all, maintain a positive attitude during your child’s first visit! Your joyful and calm presence will help your child have a positive first experience.
What to Avoid Before Your Child’s First Visit
If your child is old enough to understand that they are visiting the dentist, don’t keep the visit a secret. Secrecy will only add to the anxiety and may make your child feel like they have something to fear at the dentist. While giving a reward to your child for being brave is perfectly acceptable, avoid bribing them before the visit as it will make them see the dentist in a negative way.
Maintain a positive attitude about family dentistry so that your child doesn’t have preconceived notions that the visit will be bad, painful or scary. Be honest but positive.
Choosing the Right Family Dentist for You
Many wonderful dentists specialize in pediatric and family dentistry. Their offices are more friendly and usually include toys in the waiting area. Dentists who have experience working with young children will be able to make your child feel comfortable and safe. They will also give you good advice.
We don’t always look forward to going to the dentist, but by starting off on a positive note with your child, they will feel comfortable and will be much more likely to learn good dental hygiene habits! For a family-friendly visit, contact Casselman Dental Clinic to book your child’s first appointment!
Dr. Hanan Taraf is an experienced dentist. Her first practice was in Morocco, where she was born and raised. In 2005, she came to Canada, studying at the Université de Montréal where she earned her Canadian DMD Degree, graduating in June of 2010. She’s never stopped learning, however; Dr. Taraf’s dedication to continuing education led her to take further studies so she could offer oral sedation to ensure even the most anxious patients are able to enjoy stress-free treatment. Dr. Taraf is also a graduate from the University of Toronto’s Mini Implant Residency with associate professor Dr. Mark Lin.