Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

One of the most common questions parents have about the dentist is how a child's first appointment will go. The first appointment can be intimidating for anybody, let alone a one-year-old child. If you have questions about your child's first appointment, it is important to consider these factors.

When to Schedule an Appointment

You should schedule your child's first dental appointment when you notice their first tooth erupting, generally before their first birthday. This first dental visit is just an introduction and will likely not involve any serious dental work. For this reason, you should schedule the appointment well before the child may need serious dental work.

What to Expect from the Appointment

During your child's appointment, you can expect the professionals to explain the different tools and use some of them lightly. They will ensure that the child has some understanding of what is happening. It will not involve any painful procedures, and the child should not associate the dentist with pain.

The examination part of the appointment will typically include a brief look at your child's jaw, gums, and teeth. They will also assess the child's bite. In some cases, the dentist may decide to perform a cleaning during this first visit.

How Dentists Make Children Comfortable

Dentists use many techniques to improve the comfort of pediatric patients. For example, some use a method in which they tell the child about the equipment, show them how it works, and then perform the actions on the child.

Distraction is also helpful. Children may listen to music, watch a movie, or look at their parent while the appointment is happening.

Parent participation is also crucial for children at the dentist. Parents should ask questions and show an interest in the appointment to encourage the child to be interested too.

Many dentists also use a lap-to-lap technique. With this technique, the child will have their head in the lap of the hygienist or dentist. They will face the parent, which provides a sense of comfort.

Why the First Appointment Matters

A child's first dental appointment can shape his or her perception of the dentist for life. A child will not have so much fear of the dentist if they grow used to coming in for appointments.

Parents can help with their child's dental anxiety by staying positive. Rather than bribe a child who has anxiety, it is a good idea to discuss the positive aspects of going to the dentist. Learn more about dental services by talking to your dentist today.