So you’ve recently had a child, and you’ve probably been so involved in making sure that every other stage of their development is on track. It’s important to make sure their dental health doesn’t fall through the cracks. Here are some tips to ease you into the introduction to your pediatric dentist.
What Age Should your Child First Go to the Dentist?
Ideally they should go in for their first check up at as young as age one. That may sound a bit early, and it’s not time for regular six month check ups yet, but starting them this young can do a few very positive things for them.
1. It gets them comfortable with the dentist from the very beginning, and greatly reduces their chances of developing dental anxieties later on in life.
2. It allows the pediatric dentist to become familiar with your child’s teeth from the start, which will help them to guide your children to proper dental health as they grow older.
3. This allows the parents to learn what to expect in the coming 6-12 months with your child’s teeth and how to best care for them in this initial development stage.
Most pediatric dentists would recommend that your child start their regular six month dental visits at around the age of 2. After this, some of the next pediatric dental benchmarks would be:
• Ages 4-6: expect your child’s first set of dental x-rays to start checking for cavities
• Ages 6-12: this is an important time in the development of your child’s teeth and prevention is the name of the game as your child’s baby teeth give way to permanent teeth
• Ages 7-9: your dentist may suggest a sealant to help prevent cavities on your child’s teeth, especially to the cavity prone back molar area
• Ages 7-9: your dentist will probably recommend your child’s first visit to the orthodontist (even though braces may wait till the early teen year), this will help insure that their jaw growth is coming along well and help to identify any early skeletal causes of crooked teeth, helping to ensure a beautiful smile later on
Preparing for your Child’s First Pediatric Dentist Visit
So we’ve talked all about when to take your child to their first dental visit and the other steps along the way, now let’s discuss some things you can do to help ensure that first visit goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s a list of some tips for you parents:
- 1. Be Brief – Sometimes parents tend to try to prepare their child so much for their first dental visit that what was once not a big deal in their mind, all of the sudden becomes this huge event because parents over talked about this visit to their child in hopes of preparing them better. Just remember, that a child doesn’t know what they don’t now so less is more in this area. Simply let them know that there is a visit and try to make it a fun thing for them in your tone and actions.
- 2. Be Positive – Many times parents have had negative experiences with the dentist and they unintentionally put fear or negative connotations about the dentist in their children’s minds unconsciously by their tone or letting something slip out. So be positive and come across like this visit is no big deal at all.
- 3. Be a Comforting Presence, but not a Nuisance – It’s good to be there for your child, even beside them during their first dental visit. But focus on being there as a comfort for your child, and not a nuisance that interjects frequently with the dentist while they are trying to do what they do. This will not only distract your dentist, but it will also hinder your child from bonding with their dentist and making a visit to the dentist a fun thing for them.
At Summit Dental Center, we strive to be a fun and easy experience for your child. Our dentists specialize in pediatric dentistry, to ensure the most comfortable environment for you and your family.