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What Should I Expect at My Child's First Dental Appointment?

Children see their pediatrician frequently as infants and toddlers, but isn’t oral health just as important? The conscientious parent that has done their research will realize their child’s first dental appointment should be around the child’s first birthday, and many parents are selecting a pediatric dentist for their expertise in caring for their child’s oral health.

Although the child may have very few teeth at this age, the pediatric dentist has an opportunity to examine the child for any oral abnormalities that could be disruptive to the formation of permanent teeth. Additionally, since your dental provider specializes in treating children, you will have someone who knows how to examine your child without it being a traumatic event. This is important, because if that first visit is intimidating, getting the child to return will be extremely difficult.

This early visit will not involve many of the dental instruments that adults experience at their appointment. A brief exam to check for decay and maybe a fluoride application will conclude this first visit. This appointment is also an educational event for the parent. Their dentist will discuss topics like thumb sucking or how to break a pacifier habit; bottle feeding; proper nourishment for oral health and teaching the child about brushing and flossing. These are things many parents need to know and can learn at this first appointment.

If that first dental appointment is delayed until the child is experiencing a problem, that first visit may be uncomfortable for the child, making subsequent visits difficult. Even if the child is not old enough to understand or comprehend what is happening, it is best not to place any negative emphasis on visiting the dentist. Avoid using phrases like “it won’t hurt” or “it’s just like going to the doctor” because going to the doctor might conjure up memories of other unpleasantries like vaccinations.

If the child is experiencing dental decay or a toothache, try to focus on something positive at the dental office such as being able to play with the toys commonly found in a pediatric office.

Always try to connect seeing the dentist in a positive light no matter your child’s age. Consistent dental visits with our caring team at Richardson Dentistry will be rewarded with excellent oral health and a bright smile for you and your child. Call (972) 218-0078 to make that important first appointment for your child today.

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