As a new parent, you are constantly wondering if you’re doing the job right. The last thing you ever want is to have something happen to your child because X, Y, or Z slipped through the proverbial cracks. One of these overlooked details is a child’s dental health. A survey commissioned by the Delta Dental Plans Association revealed that the average age children had their first dental visit was 2.6 years and 34% of children hadn’t seen the dentist at all. Oftentimes, we as parents think our child is too young or doesn’t have enough teeth to make it much of an issue. In actuality, children should start visiting the dentist any time between first tooth and their first birthday. Why, you ask? Well, an early start with a dentist will help alleviate any trepidation they may have about these visits throughout their lives. It can also be beneficial to get some basic knowledge as to how your child’s dental health should be handled at home so that there aren’t problems growing up.
So, what is the first step to getting your munchkin’s oral health in order? First, find a dentist. You can use your personal dentist or look for a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is everything your dentist is, but has a couple more years of school so they are fully-equipped to focus on the specific needs of children. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when making the appointment? Setting it after your child has a good rest under their belt is ideal; fussiness is at a minimum and they are much more willing to be cooperative.
Once you have made their first dental appointment, the next step is to get your child into the idea of going. There are lot of ways to prepare your little one for this adventure. Learning about what will happen through books and other resources is fantastic help, but it is also great to give them a bit of a preview. Take them next time you have an appointment, or take turns roleplaying what the dentist will be doing poking around in their mouths. Having a dentist poking around with sharp tools is always going to be a scary thing for a tiny human. The more preparation you do, the smoother the experience will be.
On the day of your child’s first visit, expect to have lots of opportunity to ask any questions you may have. The dentist will go over your child’s history and give you a crash course as to what you can expect in upcoming months. A thorough examination of your child’s mouth will be done so the dentist can clearly distinguish any issues that may arise due to habits like thumb sucking, poor hygienic practice or diet. And, if necessary, your dentist or hygienist may clean your child’s teeth if stains are apparent and/or apply fluoride to prevent future cavities. Making sure your little one is comfortable is your first priority so be sure to bring things that soothe them, whether it be a little snack, a favorite toy or blanket. Keeping them happy will ensure you leave that first appointment ready and able to tackle any surprises that may hinder that sweet baby smile you love so much.
If your little one is ready for their first visit to the dentist, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at (951) 688-3442 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gmdental.com for information regarding our practice.