With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to discuss the importance of taking your child to the dentist. Children should visit the dentist no later than six months after the first baby tooth arrives. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends seeing the dentist before your child’s first birthday.

kids_dentist_visitThere are two reasons why the first dental visit is so important. First, it allows the dentist to examine your child’s mouth to ensure everything is on track as far as growth and development. Second, it sets the stage for a lifetime of good dental care, while giving your children the chance to become familiar with the routine.

Preparing Your Child for the Dentist

It’s normal for children to be nervous before seeing the dentist for the first time. In addition to finding a dentist who enjoys working with children, there are other ways to ensure the visit goes well.

Talk with your child about what to expect. Go over what will happen at the dental visit and listen to your child’s concerns. Don’t let your own anxiety show, because your children will pick up on it. Some dentists will allow you to take a tour before the big day.

Schedule an early appointment. Most children are more cooperative in the morning after a good night’s sleep. Try to make one of the first appointments of the day, when your child is more apt to be in an agreeable mood.

Teach your child how to relax. If your child gets anxious easily, consider practicing relaxation exercises prior to the visit. For example, show your child how to take deep belly breaths, exhaling through the mouth. Another good exercise is tensing and releasing each part of the body, one at a time.

Consider nitrous oxide. Your child won’t need any treatments performed during the first visit, but may need a filling later on. If that is the case you may want to discuss the option of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to help calm your child while the dentist is working.

What to Expect

During your child’s first dental visit, you can expect the following:

  • An oral examination to check for decay, injuries and other issues
  • A thorough cleaning to remove bacteria and plaque
  • A fluoride treatment if needed
  • Instructions on how to take care of teeth at home
  • A treatment plan, if dental work is necessary

You will have time to share any concerns with the dentist. Bring a list of any questions you have so that you don’t forget. Let the dentist know if your child sucks his thumb or uses a pacifier.

After the dentist finishes the exam, you will schedule the next appointment. Children and adults should have an exam and cleaning at least once every six months. Stay on top of your own appointments to show your child that dental care is a priority for the whole family.

 

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Original Source: https://www.craigarmstrongdds.com/cleanings-and-prevention/need-know-child-dentist/ ‎

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