February is National Children’s Dental Month: What to expect during your child’s first visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you should bring your child to the dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. While there are only a few teeth in your child’s mouth, dental problems can appear early. More than 25% of children have at least one cavity by the age of 4 so waiting can delay the benefits of preventative dental services. 

Before scheduling your child’s dental appointment make sure that they will be the least fussy at that time of the day by ensuring they are well-rested and fed before their appointment.  Avoid scheduling an appointment late in the day or close to nap times. Before the visit, talk to your child about the appointment. You may want to read some books about visiting the dentist or watching some videos or television shows about a friendly dental visit. You can also play pretend and have them open their mouth while you count their teeth. By having a positive approach to your child’s dental visit your child will feel more comfortable and less afraid. You can have them bring a favorite stuffed toy to keep them company during the visit. 

During your child’s visit and depending on their age, they may either sit directly in the chair or on your lap. Your Clocktower Dental dentist will check their teeth for decay, examine your child’s bite, look at their gums for any potential problems, and examine their jaw for development, or other oral issues. During the dental examination, you may be asked about any medical conditions your child may have, what their diet is like, and habits they may have such as thumb-sucking, tooth brushing, and fluoride treatments. If it’s indicated, your child’s teeth may be cleaned by either the dentist or the dental hygienist and they will provide you with oral health care basics and perhaps a demonstration on how you can take care of your child’s oral hygiene. 

Any dental development issues or questions you may have can be answered during your child’s appointment. Topics you may want to discuss with your Clocktower Dental dentist include:

  • How to practice good oral hygiene for your child’s teeth and gums
  • How to prevent cavities
  • If there is a need for fluoride
  • Baby bottle tooth decay
  • If your child’s oral habits, including thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, affect their dental development
  • What milestones to expect in your child’s dental development
  • Teething and how to treat it
  • Proper nutrition for good oral development

By starting your child early on the path to great oral health you will help in preventing dental problems that can occur during their childhood. Based on your child’s risk factors and dental health status a follow-up visit will be recommended. A 6-month routine follow-up examination is typically scheduled after your initial visit. 

If your child is due or overdue for their first dental examination, please contact us to schedule your appointment with one of our dentists. You can also call us at 516-217-0017.

Posted in: Latest News, Pediatric Dentistry

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