Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
START TODAY! The Canadian Dental Association recommends that every child has his or her’s first dental appointment by their first birthday. The earlier the visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems, which is the entire point of visiting the dentist – prevention.
The main three reasons the CDA and our SmileTown experts believe you should take your child for dental exams from a young age are:
- You can find out if the cleaning you do at home is working.
- Your dentist can find problems right away and fix them.
- Your child can learn that going to the dentist helps prevent problems.
You, as the parent, play a key role in your child’s dental care. Children often perceive a parent’s anxiety which makes them more fearful. Children tolerate procedures best when their parents understand what to expect and prepare them for the experience. If you have any questions about the appointment, please ask. As you become more confident, so will your child.
At this first appointment, depending on your child’s age, we may suggest taking X-rays of your child’s teeth. These images show decay and any cavities that may be missed by the human eye between the teeth, as well as development concerns.
As your child ages, there are other things that may come up during either first appointments or subsequent appointments. These include:
- Your Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph SmileTown dentists may discuss the need for fluoride;
- As your child’s teeth develop, and permanent molars have grown, our dentists in our Guelph, Cambridge and Waterloo SmileTown offices may suggest using a dental sealant to protect the teeth from cavities. This is a kind of plastic that fills in the chewing surface to stop food from getting trapped.
- We also monitor the growth and development of all adult teeth to ensure they are coming in straight and each tooth has the proper amount of space to grow completely and healthy. If your child does have any crooked or crowded teeth, many times these issue resolve on their own as adult teeth develop, we can refer you to our orthodontist whom specializes in straightening and aligning teeth. This will also allow your child’s jaws to grow and develop properly.
Tips for bringing your child to the dentist for the first time:
- If you have a toddler who has not yet seen a dentist, consider a “get acquainted” visit to introduce your child to the dental office before the first appointment. Choose a child centred dental practice that is “child-friendly.” Select an appointment time when your child is alert and rested.
- Explain before the visit that the dentist is a friend and will help your child keep his teeth healthy. Add that the visit will be fun. Answer all your child’s questions positively. (Keep an ear out for scary stories from peers and siblings.)
- Be careful about using scary words. Check-ups and 90 percent of first visits do not have anything to do with “hurt,” so do not even use the word!
- Read your child a story about a character that had a good dental visit. (Ask the dental office for suggested reading.)
- Make a list of your questions about your child’s oral health in advance. This could include such topics as home care, injury prevention, diet and snacking, fluoride and tooth development.
Call us today to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment. We work hard every day to create a great first experience at the dentist.
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