The Importance Of Your Child’s 1st Dental Visit

Dental Care for Kids

Dr. Allen Sun of Laurentian Dental Centre Kitchener

Dr. Allen Sun, Laurentian Dental, Kitchener

It’s essential to get an early start on dental care so that children learn that visiting the dentist is a regular part of their health care.

It can be a good idea to schedule their first visit before any problems develop to create a positive initial experience for the child. For small children, a visit to the dentist can be a fun experience because dental care for children today is aimed at prevention rather than repairing problems.

Your child’s first visit to the dentist can be at around age 1. By age 2 or 3, your child needs to start seeing the dentist regularly when most if not all of the 20 baby (or primary) teeth have arrived. At that time, the dentist may want to take x-rays which can reveal any decay between the teeth. These x-rays will also show if the child’s teeth are coming in the way they should be. In most cases, a check-up every six months will enable the dentist to catch any small problems that may develop at an early stage.

Baby with teether in mouth

Baby smiles!

Most dentists and their staff strive to make a child’s first visit fun and relaxing, even if it just involves a “ride” in the chair to start. Using the right techniques, the dentist or hygienist can often transform the most anxious child into a willing and cooperative little patient – a child who is no longer afraid and will leave the dental office with a smile on their face.

To educate and enlighten children, the dentist or the hygienist can introduce them to the intraoral camera which has a tiny wand that goes into the mouth and then projects pictures of their teeth onto a TV screen. Children can also learn something about proper dental hygiene with novelty, oversized toothbrushes.

“Your child’s first visit to the dentist can be at around age 1. By age 2 or 3, your child needs to start seeing the dentist regularly when most if not all of the 20 baby (or primary) teeth have arrived.”

Sometimes, the services of a pediatric dentist may be required, especially if a young child is uncooperative.

The language parents use with children regarding their dental visits is also critical to developing the proper mental image. Children need to be spoken to with honesty, but proper wording alleviates fearful images, enabling the dentist to manage those early dental visits positively. Speak enthusiastically of upcoming dental visits, emphasizing benefits such as having clean and healthy teeth and a pretty smile.

As parents, you should ask the dentist about appropriate oral hygiene procedures and nutritional care, even before your child’s first dental visits.

Once your child has teeth, you should lift the child’s lips once a month and visually check the teeth. Be on the lookout for dull white spots or lines on the teeth. These may appear on the necks of the teeth, next to the gums. Dark coloured teeth are also a problem sign. If you should observe any of these symptoms, please take your child to the dentist at once. Early childhood dental problems must be treated quickly; otherwise, the child may suffer from pain and infection.

Yours for better dental health,

This article has been updated from its original posting in July of 2012.

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