For a lot of us, the unknown is a scary place to be. Dentistry has come a long way over the years. More adults than not are anxious about going to the dentist because of something that that took place in the dental office when they were a small child. As child-friendly and pediatric dentists, we want to build a lifelong, positive relationship with our patients. With the advances in dentistry available today, there is no need for children to be fearful!
Ensuring that your child has a positive and exciting first visit to the dentist will help set them up for a lifetime of good oral health. Here are some tips to help your son or daughter have a good experience at Summit Dental Center, the best pediatric dentist in Houston, TX!
- Practice at Home, First
Leading up to your child’s first dental appointment, you can practice at home by brushing your teeth together or brushing their teeth for them. Explain to the child that when you go to the dentist, they will be checking all your teeth to make sure they are healthy, and clean them with a special toothbrush.
Explain to them that you always look forward going to the dentist because it makes your teeth look so shiny, clean, and feel so much better. If this isn’t true and you hate going to the dentist, then…
- Keep Your Emotions in Check
Children feed off of our emotions. If we, as adults, show fear, anger, nervousness, then our child will feel the same way. So it’s important to remain calm and stay positive. Even if you hate going to the dentist, as an adult, you understand the importance of it. Children don’t understand this. By keeping your emotions in check, your child will feel fine and have an easier time going along with the routine.
- Use Appropriate Language
When speaking to your child or other people about dental visits, use positive words that make the experience sound pleasant and exciting.
Avoid terms that can make your child feel scared and apprehensive. Say “clean” instead of “scrape”, “funny taste”, rather than “bad taste”, and “tickle”, is better than “hurt”.
Don’t forget that always staying positive will help your child have a good experience.
- Bring a Friend Along
Everything’s better when someone you know is by your side. Does your child have a sibling, or perhaps a best friend who also needs to go to the dentist? Why not let them go together? They can help comfort each other and will be excited about sharing the experience.
- Don’t Wait Until it’s too Late
To help ensure a positive experience, please bring your child to the pediatric dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. Don’t wait until your child is in pain with a tooth. When you do, it makes the dental office a much scarier place to be. They will start to associate it with pain, and be scared because of how their mouth feels.
If we can begin our relationship with your child on a positive note, you’ll be setting them up for a lifelong commitment to their teeth and dental visits. Remember that countless fearful adults that come into a dental practice are victims of a traumatizing experience that happened when they were children. This is not what we want!
Baby Teeth Are Important
Yes, baby (primary) teeth are temporary, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. They serve a significant purpose in the development of your child’s mouth, speech, diet, and facial features.
Primary teeth serve as space maintainers until the permanent ones are ready to come in. If a baby tooth is removed too early, it can have a negative impact. Also, since your child is still growing, being without their primary teeth can affect the way their bone and facial structure develops.
Baby teeth are also responsible for holding the tongue in position. Healthy teeth and tongue muscles are needed in order to pronounce sounds correctly. So, to avoid developing a speech problem, primary teeth should be maintained and last their intended amount of time.
You can see that baby teeth are important; regular dental checkups and cleanings will help ensure their health.
Here’s a list to give you a better idea of what to expect from your child’s teeth, and when:
As early as four months of age: Your baby may start to cut their first primary teeth, which are on the bottom in the middle.
By the time your child is three: All twenty primary teeth will have come in.
At the age of six: The first permanent tooth will appear in the back of the mouth. Four of them, one on each quadrant will come in. Your child will also start to lose a lot of baby teeth at this time.
Between the age of 10 and 13: Your child will go through another phase where he will lose more baby teeth.
By the age of 13: All the permanent teeth (except the wisdom teeth) should be in and the baby teeth are gone.
Starting at 17: The third molars may start to appear. However, sometimes they don’t come in at all.
Preparing to See a Pediatric Dentist
Follow all these tips and tricks and you’ll be glad you did. Both you and your child will have a positive experience and rather than dreading future visits, you’ll look forward to them. So before visiting the pediatric dentist, play the scenario in your head so that you’re ready to react appropriately to your child. Working together, we can ensure a positive experience for everyone. So go on, get ready, then come to see us at the family-friendly and pediatric dental office of Summit Dental Center in Houston, Texas. We look forward to meeting you!