How to Prepare Your Child for His or Her First Dentist Visit
Dental care is an important part of full-body health. Like regular check-ups with a paediatrician, visits to the dentist should begin early in your child's life to ensure that his or her smile develops in a healthy, beautiful way.
Dental health experts recommend that children have their first dental exam within six months of their first tooth eruption, which can occur at any age between 3 and 14 months. Unfortunately, at this young age, many children find a dentist's office unfamiliar and even scary.
In this blog, we guide you through preparing your child for this first visit and laying the foundation for good dental hygiene and health throughout his or her life.
Find the Right Dentist for Your Child
The most important step in preparing for your child's first dentist appointment is choosing a qualified paediatric dentist. You may need to research dental professionals in your area, ask other parents about their preferences or talk to the office staff at several practices to find a good fit.
If your current dentist sees child patients, start your search with this practice since you know and trust the staff. If your dentist does not see children, he or she may still be able to provide you with recommendations for your child.
If you have concerns about your child's specific needs, speak to your chosen paediatric dentist in advance. Many paediatric dental practices offer services to make visits easier on their youngest patients, such as pre-appointment office tours.
Complete New Patient Paperwork in Advance
Children's initial dental visits are relatively short and simple. At this point in your child's oral development, he or she is not likely to need thorough cleanings or extensive examination. In this case, the worst part of the visit for your child may be the wait in the lobby.
Shorten your waiting time by completing as much paperwork as you can beforehand. Many medical practices make their new patient forms available online or through mail by request.
In addition to the official paperwork, you may want to take note of any oral symptoms your child has and of his or her medical history. For example, your child's dentist will want to know if he or she has a fingersucking habit or is on any medication.
You can also write down any specific questions you have regarding your child's dental health or development.
Choose a Low-Stress Appointment Time
When you make your child's first appointment, consider his or her usual daily routine. Ideally, you want the appointment to occur at a time when your child is most content and sociable. Avoid scheduling the appointment when your child usually takes a nap or performs a set task.
You may want to fit in a meal before the visit to reduce any potential grumpiness prompted by hunger.
Pack Basic Needs for the Visit
As you pack your child's bag for the appointment, assume that you will have a short wait and that your child may feel some discomfort in the office. Take any essentials you think that you or your child may need in the situation.
For example, in addition to diapers and other hygiene tools, you may want to pack one of your child's favourite comfort items like a blanket so that he or she can hold on to something familiar during the exam. Depending on how the appointment relates to your child's usual meal times, you may also want to pack a snack.
Use this guide to ensure that your child's first trip to the dentist is as easy and stress-free as possible, for both you and your son or daughter.
For lifelong dental care, trust the team at Carlton Dental.