What to expect at your kid’s first dentist appointment

Many parents are anxious about taking their child to the dentist for the first time.  This is completely understandable considering most adults tend to have a fear of going to the dentist, and they want to make sure that their children do not carry that fear with them into their own first visit. Fortunately there are many kids dentist that specialize in the treatment of young adults and children. These practices are dedicated to making the first experience at the dentist a good one, as well as every visit after that.

People often assume that a pediatric dentist is just a regular dentist that has dedicated their practice to the treatment of children. However, in order for a dentist to be a pediatric dentist, they must have had at least two years of additional training in addition to their basic dental education.  This additional education gives them the tools that they will need in order give proper care to an individual that has developing teeth. It also helps them to understand and help manage children’s behavior and helps them to educate the parents on the proper care of baby’s teeth in between dental cleanings.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should begin taking your child to the dentist around their first birthday. Your child’s very first visit to the dentist will likely be very uneventful and very short.  This first visit is intended primarily to familiarize your child with the idea of sitting in the dentist’s chair and for them to meet the actual dentist in person.  Sometimes the dentist may ask you as the parent to sit in the dentist chair and hold the child in your lap to help make them feel more comfortable.  Depending on the comfort level of your child, they will then perform a quick examination of any teeth they have at the point. This is a cursory check, and not intended to be the full teeth cleaning that we are used to receiving as adults. If the pediatric dentist sees any decay or other issues that raise a red flag, they may ask you to come back sooner than normal so that they can look at the teeth more thoroughly, and they will create a treatment plan for you and your child to begin addressing those issues at home.

Another reason that early dental visits for children are so important is because this can be a great opportunity to ask your dentist any questions that you have about your child’s teeth. You can review what kind of oral hygiene habits you should be establishing at home and how to address any bad habits such as thumb sucking or lip sucking. This can be a great opportunity to talk about teething in your child, or for them to address any issues they saw relating to the child’s nutritional habits.

Your pediatric dentist should be skilled at making a visit to the dentist fun and relaxing. Their goal is to make going to the dentist as least stressful for you and your family as possible.