When should you start taking your child to the dentist? The first visit to the dentist should be done within six months after the child's first tooth erupts, which usually occurs between 6-12 months. During this time, the dentist will thoroughly examine the child's teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and the oral tissues. Dentists typically explain proper dental regimen such as flossing, and the need for fluoride. First trip to the dentist usually takes 30 to 45 minutes which may vary based on the age of your child and of course, their cooperation.
It is important for parents to prepare their children for the first visit to the dentist. First and foremost, never scare the child. These are the suggestions in preparing both you and your child.
1. Parents need to get ready before the child sees the dentist for the first time. Thinking of it as a new place for discovery and making new friends will usually alleviate the anxiety. Never use phrases such as "don't be afraid" or bribe your child with treats as this could make them suspicious.
2. If parents are anxious, it is important not to transfer their anxiety to the child. It is better, at times, to leave them alone with the dentist as this can help build a trusting relationship.
3. When your child gets frightened, uncooperative, or uncomfortable, you can spend your first visit on allowing them to spend time with the dentist, and explore the dental equipment and environment. When they start to relax, do not attempt to continue with the examination, rather, reschedule it the day after.
Your family dentists can be a great source of information about your child's dental care. They will provide you with the information about dental health that parents need to know before taking children to the dentist.
Importance of early dental visits (from 2 years old)
By the time the child reaches two years old, most of the baby teeth would have erupted. The enamel of these milk teeth is very prone to tooth decay. Bad habits can lead to cavities in a span of a few months.
Due to that fact, dental visit should begin early. It is of utmost importance that thorough prevention is given since dental problems are more likely to begin early during this time. One of the major concerns is Early Childhood Caries, formerly called the nursing caries, or baby bottle decay. Starting dental visit early provides your child the better chance towards problem-free dental health. Children with healthy teeth have more confidence to smile, and chew with ease. So, start having your child accustomed to a lifetime of good oral hygiene.
About the Author
Dr. Steven Polevoy is a family dentist with over 10 years of experience. Visit his team at the Gentle Touch Dentistry located in Harrison, NY. For more information about their services, visit Dental & Dentist Scarsdale.