Raising a child is one of the biggest rewards in a person's life. You get to watch them learn and grow and see them turn into their own unique individual. There is a lot of responsibility involved to make sure you help them secure their place as a happy, healthy person. One of the biggest and important responsibilities is teaching them good oral hygiene right from the start, so that they will continue it as they grow. This guide will go over the basics of oral health for infants and what you should expect as their parent or guardian when it comes to their first dental visit.
What Age Should A Child Visit the Dentist?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentristy, a child should have their first visit to the dentist by their first birthday. If you feel your child is a risk of cavities before the age of one, you should schedule it right away. Children are at a great risk for getting cavities due to their diet, so the earlier the better. Once your infant has teeth, your pediatrician will discuss with you the proper care for the teeth and answer any concerns you may have regarding the first visit to the dentist.
What Happens at the First Visit?
The things that happen at the first visit will vary depending on the dentist, but for the majority, most first dental visits include:
• A thorough examination of your child's mouth to check the teeth
• Cleaning the teeth while the dentist gives you instructions on the best way on how to do it at home
• Discussing and then setting up treatment for any present cavities
• Instructions for home care and proper diet to keep the infant's teeth healthy
• Setting up future visits
Which Questions Should Be Addressed With the Dentist?
As a parent, you will naturally have a lot of questions or concerns regarding your child's first dental visit. It is a good idea to write the questions down as you think of them so you can remember them at the time of the appointment. These are some of the most common questions or concerns parents have:
• Pacifiers and the damage they may cause to the teeth
• Cavities and the best way to prevent them
• Bottles or breastfeeding at bedtime and the effect on the teeth
• Which foods and drinks are the healthiest choice for toddlers
• Information about fluoride
Preparing for the First Visit
Many toddlers may have a fear of the denist, since they do not know what to expect. Some are just naturally shy and will balk at being handled by strangers. It is a good idea to take some of your child's favorite items with them to offer comfort, such as a blanket or a favorite stuffed animal. A lot of dental practices will have special areas for children with televisions playing cartoons, brightly painted walls, and toys to hand out as a special prize when they are finished. This can have a huge calming effect on the child and once they see that there is nothing to be scared about, they may be excited for future visits.