Visiting the dentist for the first time can be an exciting time for young children. These visits can also be highly informative for parents. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), a child should visit a dental provider by age one or within six months after their first tooth has erupted. Seeing a dentist early on can help keep your child’s smile healthy and help prevent dental problems like tooth decay. If your toddler has an upcoming appointment with your family dentist, here’s what you can expect.
A Warm Welcome
When you schedule an appointment for your toddler at Bonham Dental Arts in Largo, FL, you can expect to be treated with warmness and respect. We understand the importance of making our patients feel safe and comfortable and will do our best to help your child enjoy his or her time at the dentist.
We’ll ask parents or guardians to complete new patient forms before or during their first visit. You’ll be asked to sit in our cozy reception area as you wait for your child’s name to be called. You’ll then head back to your appointment room where you’ll meet with our friendly dental staff.
Once in the treatment room, your child will be asked to sit in a comfortable chair and wear a pair of cool sunglasses to protect his or her eyes from the light used to see into the mouth. The dentist may want to see a more in-depth picture of the mouth which may require our dental hygienist to take dental x-rays. If your child has difficulty sitting in the chair on his or her own, the first visit may be completed while sitting on a parent’s lap.
The Exam and Cleaning
During a routine dental exam, the dentist will look into your toddler’s mouth using a small mirror and handheld tools. To make your child feel more comfortable and in control, the dentist will show each instrument and explain what will happen each step of the way. The dentist will count each tooth and check the gums and your child’s bite.
Depending on the age of your child, your dentist may recommend a cleaning. A gentle cleaning can help remove any stubborn food and plaque from the teeth. The dental hygienist will then polish your toddler’s teeth so they appear white and shiny. This is a great time for parents to ask any questions they may have about their tot’s oral health routine.
The first visit to the dentist focuses a great deal on education. Your child’s mouth will experience fast growth and it is important to be aware of what you can expect in terms of dental health. Your family dentist will talk about good oral hygiene practices for your toddler, cavity prevention, and fluoride needs. The dentist may also go over developmental milestones and the importance of proper nutrition for a healthy smile.
Do not hesitate to bring up any concerns you may have about your child’s teeth, including oral habits that may be affecting his or her bite, such as tongue thrusting, lip sucking, or thumb sucking. Your dentist may have suggestions on how to stop these habits and establish healthier practices.
Preparing for a Dental Visit
It is not uncommon for some children to experience anxiety prior to their first dentist visit. These fears are understandable and should be approached with care and patience. There are several things you can do to calm your little one’s worries about their dental visit:
- Use age-appropriate language – Speak with your toddler about going to the dentist in language he or she can understand. Explain how the dentist helps make teeth clean and healthy.
- Come prepared – Schedule your toddler’s appointment for a time that he or she is not tired or hungry. Bring along toys or books that will comfort your child and act as a distraction.
- Be a supportive parent – Your toddler relies on you to make him or her feel assured and comfortable. Be your child’s cheerleader during the visit and use positive language.
Schedule Your Toddler’s First Visit
Good dental health and wellness begins with your child’s first visit to the dentist. Contact the team at Bonham Dental Arts today to learn more about our practice or to schedule an appointment for your toddler.