Our kids aren’t born with teeth, so there’s a lot of confusion over when they should first go to the dentist. Fortunately, there’s a helpful rule of thumb to make it a lot easier. The American Dental Association suggests bringing your child to the dentist after the emergence of their first tooth but before their first birthday. To put that another way, your child should see their kids dentist in Irvine before they turn one, but it should be as close to the emergence of their first tooth as possible. So, here we have your kid’s first dental visit overview.
Your Kid’s First Dental Visit Overview
With that said, we understand that taking your child to the dentist for the first time can prove filled with challenges. Your baby is being introduced to a new environment, new people, and new experiences all at the same time. It’s no wonder that so many babies find the whole experience scary, but there are steps you can take to make the dentist another basic part of their routine.
What You Should Prepare For:
When your child first goes to the dentist, your pediatric dentist will be looking for certain warning signs. Bottle use is practically necessary for modern society, and pacifier use is shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, but they aren’t necessarily the best for our baby’s developing teeth. As a result, your pediatric dentist will be looking for potential issues that could be related to:
- Bottle-Related Tooth Decay
- Problematic Feeding Practices
- Oral Hygiene
- Pacifier Habits
- Thumb-sucking Habits
If your pediatric dentist flags any of these issues, this is not an indication that you did something wrong. You necessarily have to find ways to feed and soothe your baby. What your dentist will do is make suggestions for future adjustments to provide the healthiest environment for your baby’s developing teeth.
Preparing Your Baby
Preparing yourself is hard enough, but preparing your baby is a whole other ball game. Your child’s earliest experiences with their dentist will form the foundation of how they react to oral healthcare, so it is important to form a positive and proactive association early on. In the best scenarios, this will begin months before your child’s first exam with casual visits to the dentist’s office to say “hi” to the staff and spend some quality time in the waiting room.
However, that doesn’t mean your first real visit will be easy. Getting your child acclimated to being physically separated from you and allowing a stranger to examine their mouth is a trial in and of itself. Fortunately, we do have some tips that may lessen the burden over the years as your child learns more about their dental specialist in Irvine and the important function they serve.
Tips for Early Dentist Visits
When you’re working with your child and their relationship to their dentist it is important to pay attention to three things: comfort, consent, and knowledge. When it comes to an infant these ideas can be very difficult to encapsulate, but it’s important to start treating them like they understand if you want to build a lasting trust when they’re ready.
Start by introducing them to the dentist’s environment on days when they don’t have appointments. Pop in to say “Hi,” take a moment to color in the waiting room, and give them a treat on the way out. This builds a familiarity that cannot end up rushed.
Then talk to them about the importance of their oral health. Use age-appropriate language to talk about teeth, gums, and why they matter. You can easily use this knowledge to segue into the discussion around consent. It takes time and patience, but focusing on these three facets offers the best opportunity for your child to have a healthy relationship with their oral health care throughout their life.