Your child’s first visit to the dentist: what to expect and how to prepare your child for the same
Tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness, so scheduling your child’s first dentist visit early is crucial for preventing cavities. Seeing the dentist early on in life will also help your child get used to the idea of taking care of their teeth and gums. Our pediatric dentists want to help your child build a strong foundation for oral health. They do this by talking to your child about their oral health in a way they understand. Our entire team also goes above and beyond to make sure your child always feels comfortable and safe.
The sooner children begin getting regular dental checkups, the healthier their mouths will stay throughout their lives. Early checkups help prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating, and other medical issues. Youngsters with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that every child should visit a dentist by age 1 or as soon as the first tooth appears.
HOW DO I PREPARE MY CHILD FOR THEIR FIRST DENTIST VISIT?
You want to make sure your child feels as comfortable and safe as possible. The best way to do this is to remain calm and avoid using any words that may frighten your child. It’s important that you set an example for your child and act relaxed and even excited about going to the dentist. They will pick up on your positive outlook of the dentist and probably react similarly.
What to expect from the first visit:
This session more of an informative and interactive session wherein the child is being taken for a tour around the dental clinic and he’s made familiar with the environment, secondly, parents are given facts about the teeth and it’s surrounding tissues along with techniques that enable them to maintain good oral health for their children and themselves.
- Take Your Child With You on Your Dental Visit
- Watch Videos and Read Books About Dentist Visits
- Pick a Time That Works for Your Child, Younger children tend to do better in the morning.
- Use Positive Reinforcement
It’s normal for your child to be nervous or anxious before a dental visit. Let them know it’s okay to be nervous, but praise them for being brave. You Need to Be Positive About the Dentist. Even if you don’t like the dentist, refrain from talking about any dental anxiety around your children even if it is with someone else. Bring his/her favorite toy
Answer any questions your child has. Avoid words like shot, pain, needle, or hurt even if you say it won’t hurt. Your child will hear that word.
Why are Baby teeth important?
“Why do baby teeth matter? They fall out anyway, right?”
We hear this question on a daily basis at the dental clinic. The truth is that baby teeth DO matter!
Primary teeth, or baby teeth, are very important to a child’s physical, emotional, and social development. Here are five reasons why baby teeth should be taken care of just as we take care of our permanent (adult) teeth.
Tooth alignment and position - The primary teeth save space for the adult teeth and guide the adult teeth into their proper position. If the baby tooth is lost early due to tooth decay, the adjacent teeth tend to drift or tip into that space. Therefore, the permanent tooth has less room to come in and can be blocked from erupting into that space.
Healthy permanent teeth - The permanent teeth develop very close to the roots of the baby teeth. Baby teeth are much smaller and cavities can spread very quickly through their thin enamel. If cavities are left untreated, the baby tooth can develop and infection or abscess which can hinder tooth development and cause damage to the permanent tooth underneath.
Proper health and nutrition - Teeth, of course, are needed for chewing. Dental pain from cavities can lead to nutritional deficiencies if the child is not able to properly chew their food. Also, if cavities are left untreated, there is a great risk of an infection forming. And this infection can spread to other areas of the body and even to the brain. This can turn into an emergency situation very rapidly and the child may need to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, there have been reported cases where children have died from a dental abscess.
Speech and facial development – The tongue, lips, and cheeks deflect off teeth when forming sounds. The presence and proper positioning of baby teeth assist in the formation of correct pronunciation during speech. The tooth structure also provides support for the developing facial muscles and gives shape to your child’s face.
Concentration and self-esteem – If a child is having dental pain, it can greatly affect their ability to pay attention and learn in school. Decayed teeth can also interfere with a child’s social interactions and affect their confidence and self-esteem. This can also lead to children missing school and parents having to miss work if they have to take children to the dentist for emergency appointments.
The bottom line: Teaching your child to develop good oral care habits with their primary teeth is very important! These early habits will help them keep those permanent teeth healthy for life!
Together, we’ll achieve and maintain your best smile!
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