A baby’s first tooth is an exciting milestone in parenthood. (After you get past the discomfort of teething).
Once your child starts breaking teeth, it’s only a short time before you’ll need to make their first dentist appointment.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should see a dentist around age 1 or within 6 months of getting their first tooth.
While there is plenty of growth, development, and teeth still to come, it’s never too soon to find a kid’s dentist in your area.
If you and your child are unsure of what dentistry for kids involves, this article is for you!
Keep reading to learn all there is to know about pediatric dentistry so both you and your child can show up for their first dentist visit with confidence.
Find the Best Pediatric Dentist for Your Child
Before you can schedule your child’s first dentist visit, you need to find a pediatric dentist in your area. There are a few ways to go about this including asking friends and family for recommendations and searching online.
It’s important to find a professional who specializes in dentistry for kids. Pediatric dentist offices are experienced in dealing with young patients.
The offices are often decorated with bright, comforting colors. The waiting and exam rooms have plenty of toys, books, and other distractions to help make patients more comfortable.
The dental team is trained to work well with children and ease any fears or anxiety.
Before the Appointment
Once you find the best pediatric dentist for your child’s needs, you can schedule an appointment. If possible, pick a day or time when you can ensure your child is well-rested and relaxed.
Avoid making the appointment after a long day of school and sports or at a time when your infant is especially tired or cranky.
At this point, you should talk to your child about the dentist including why dental care is important and what they can expect during their first dentist visit.
Depending on how old your child is, you can read fun books about going to the dentist or watch informational cartoons or videos. Encourage them to ask questions.
You can even practice having them sit with their mouth open while you safely and gently touch and “examine” their teeth. The more comfortable they are with the entire experience, the more prepared they’ll be on the day of their appointment.
Communicate with the Dental Team
It’s important to inform the dental team of any medical issues or anxieties your child might have prior to the appointment. The more they know about the patient and their individual needs, the better they can prepare and serve your child.
Does your child have a fear of doctors and dentists? Are they complaining of pain in their teeth and you’re concerned they might have a cavity?
Even the smallest bit of information can help the dentist prepare for a smooth appointment and positive experience for your child.
Be Patient and Supportive
It’s sometimes difficult to remain calm, patient, and supportive when your child is panicked or nervous about their upcoming dentist appointment.
It’s important to remain as calm as possible. Getting worked up or emotional will only make matters worse.
Remember, the dental team is there to offer help and support as well, so use them as a resource.
Bring along your child’s favorite toy or stuffed animal to comfort them during the appointment. Depending on your child’s age, size, and type of dental appointment, they may be able to sit on your lap for the examination.
Having a parent close often helps children remain calm and more receptive to what’s being done.
Schedule Your Dental Exam First
Are you due for routine cleaning or dental work? Why not let your child tag along and watch how easy it is?
Even though your dentist doesn’t specialize in pediatric dentistry, they still perform a lot of the same procedures. Let your child watch how they scrape the plaque from your teeth, clean them, and apply fluoride.
Just be sure to do it all with a smile on your face! Show your child that the dentist isn’t scary.
After your appointment, show them how clean your teeth are. Tell them how good it feels to have fresh, healthy teeth and gums.
Your goal is to get them excited about not only visiting the dentist but dental care in general.
Offer a Fun Reward
Most parents can agree that a little harmless bribery works! The good news is, most pediatric dentists have a small prize box or reward program that offers kids a treat following their appointment.
Items like stickers, pencils, or notebooks make great incentives. If the dentist you choose doesn’t offer this, no problem!
If you can, take your child to a dollar store and let them pick out an inexpensive reward for being so brave.
You can also treat them to their favorite meal for dinner or lunch, just avoid offering candy as a reward (for obvious reasons)!
Remember, you don’t have to reward your child after every dentist visit, but if it helps create a positive first experience, it’s well worth it. Just look at it as an investment in your child’s long-term dental care.
Dentistry for Kids is Our Specialty
Are you ready to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment and want to ensure it goes well?
Finding an office that specializes in dentistry for kids is your first step toward creating a positive experience.
The team at Capitol Kids Dentistry has the experience and knowledge needed to put both your and your child’s minds at ease.
With a welcoming, kid-friendly atmosphere and plenty of treatment options, your child will be excited about their next dentist visit.
Call our office at 502-699-2571 with any additional questions or to schedule an appointment.
We’re excited to welcome you to the Capitol Kids family!