At the Dentist


Whether your little ones have a mouth full of teeth or just a few starting to come through, it’s time to start thinking about scheduling that first dentist appointment. But before assuming getting your toddler into the dentist’s chair will involve tantrums or bribery, remember that your child doesn’t harbor any ill will toward the dentist – yet! So it’s best to keep your anxieties to yourself and let your child enjoy his or her first trip to the dentist. After all, there are many ways to make the dentist sound fun. The magical chair that goes up and down and back and forth, the wand that suctions the water out of the mouth, the goodie bag at the end of the visit can all be fun things you can mention to get your little on excited about that first dentist appointment.
- When to go? It is recommended by the ADA that you take your children to the dentist for the first time within about six months after their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. However, if you notice any issues beforehand, such as discoloration or deterioration, it is advised that you take them sooner rather than later.
- Whom to choose? Many parents decide to take their children to the same dentist that they use, which can be a good thing, especially if your dentist has experience with children. You may also consider taking your children to a pediatric dentist who has additional training in caring for children’s oral health. They will also be prepared to deal with any wiggling or squirming and will have a waiting room full of fun activities to distract your child.
- What will happen? The first visit will probably be short and informal. The dentist will check for decay and will take a look at your child’s gum, jaw and bite. The hygienist may clean your child’s teeth and apply a fluoride preparation or it may be saved for the next visit. The dentist will probably talk to you about good oral care habits and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about teething, tooth-friendly foods or anything else that pertains to your little one’s oral health.