| The first visit to the dentist is a very important step in your childs life. It is a time to introduce what a dentist does to your child, while allowing the dentist to evaluate the growth and development of your childs teeth and gums. A childs first visit to the dentist should occur within 6 months after the eruption of his or her first primary tooth and no later than their first birthday. Regular evaluations of the growth of their jaws, face and teeth should begin soon after your childs first birthday. The first visit to your dentist is important to check for tooth decay, answer any questions that the parents may have, assess tooth and jaw development, and begin early prevention procedures.
Early prevention helps avoid pain for your child and makes decays easier to repair. For example, cavities are much easier to repair when they are barely forming. By the age of 3, the average child already has three decayed teeth and that is only with 50% of children visiting the dentist. It is important to realize that early childhood cavities, which are sometimes referred to as Baby Bottle Cavities, can be prevented.
Remember to act excited about the first visit to the dentist. Children are very good listeners and are receptive to your feelings about the dentist. A childs experience at the dentist is largely dependent on what he or she anticipates from your attitude. If you fear dentistry, be sure to avoid sharing those fears with your child. On the other hand, if you sound excited about the visit, your child will become intrigued by the idea of the dentist. A childs experience with the dentist can go much more smoothly when he or she is unafraid. When you begin to read to your child, consider reading books about the dentist that are informative and engaging.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE FIRST APPOINTMENT
- An examination of your childs teeth and gums
- A tutorial on simple, yet effective methods to clean your childs teeth
- A discussion about your childs diet and nutrition in relation to tooth decay
- Preventive methods such as fluoride application
- Future appointments (depending on the results of the examination)