It is unlikely that you remember your own first trip to the dentist, but children’s dental appointments are structured much differently than adults. Taking your child to the dentist at the right time can help keep their oral and overall health on track well into adulthood.
When to Take My Child to the Dentist
Typically, it would be best if you took your child to the dentist soon after they get their first tooth, which is usually around one year old. This may seem early, however, there are many reasons that booking this when your child is young will help in the long run. Of course, it is not the end of the world if you have missed the mark, though try not to wait much longer than two years for an initial appointment.
Why Do I Need to Take My Child to the Dentist?
Taking your child to the dentist is not about maintaining a clean mouth the way it is for adults. As adults, dental check-ups are mostly for routine maintenance and screening; our mouths are already fully developed! It is to make sure your child’s mouth is developing properly and without any complications. Things dentists look for in an initial check-up include tooth health, gum health, and healthy bone structure. The initial appointment is also to create a base record for your child’s mouth; if things deviate, a dentist should be able to pick this up quickly and determine if it is a problem.
Your dentist will likely also be looking for any habits that have formed or are forming. Habits like thumb sucking and food-related habits can have an impact on future oral health. Most of all, though, the first appointment will help get your child familiar with the dentist. A familiarity between the dentist and child may make future trips a calm experience. At age six, your child should have their first set of X-rays, and at age seven, they may visit an orthodontist to see whether they may need brace or not.
Preparing for Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
Preparing a young child for their first trip to the dentist takes some consideration. Do not schedule your appointment at a mealtime or during nap time. Your child will likely be more comfortable during the appointment if they are well rested and well fed. Additionally, explain to them what is happening and speak positively, your child should pick up on your tone and react accordingly.
Picking the Right Dentist
When it comes to picking a dentist for your children and family, look for a dental office with a family-friendly environment. A dental team with experience working with young patients is a must for your child and your own peace of mind! The team at Sarnia’s Wiltshire Family Dental is experienced, kind, and enthusiastic. If you have questions, our team will be happy to provide you with the necessary answers.