Child’s first visit to dentist

Published by Dr. P. VIdhiyasagar M.D.S., on

 

When should my child first see a Dentist, and why?

The Indian Dental Association (IDA) recommends that the ideal time for the child to see a dentist is at approximately one year of age. This is an ideal time for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child’s mouth, because dental problems often start early, the sooner the visit the better.

To safeguard against problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations, gum disease, and prolonged thumb-sucking, the dentist can provide or recommend special preventive care.

Your child’s first dental visit can qatake place as early as the first tooth appears through the gum.

How do i prepare my child and myself for the visit?

Very young children may be fussy and not sit still. Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Bring with you to the appointment any records of your child’s complete medical history.

It is important to remember that the dental health of baby teeth is very important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important for chewing, biting, speech and appearance.

What will happen on the first visit?

First visits are introductory ice-breakers to acquaint your child with the dentist and the clinic. If the child is frightened, uncomfortable or non-cooperative a rescheduling may be necessary. Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important in these instances. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem.

A dental check-up at this early age will:

□    Allow your child to become familiar with the sights, sounds and smell of the dentist.

□    Allow early detection of tooth decay and other dental conditions.

□    Enable dental staff to give advice and instructions on tooth brushing and on good eating habits.

Appointments for children should always be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and fresh. For children under 2 years of age the parent may have to sit in the dental chair and hold the child during the examination. Also, parents may be asked to wait in the reception area so a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.

If the child is compliant, the first session often lasts between 15-30 minutes and may include the following, depending on age:

□    A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas

□    If indicated, a gently cleaning which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar build-up and stains; X-rays; a demonstration of proper home cleaning; assessment of the need for fluoride

□    The dentist should be able to answer any questions you have and try to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit. The entire dental team and the office should provide a relaxed, nonthreatening environment for your child.

What should i tell my child about the first dental visit?

□    Take your child for a “preview” or online tour of our office.

□    Read books with them about going to the dentist.

□    Speak positively about your own dental experience.

□    Allow your child to visit the dentist with you or with other older siblings.

□    Do not use words such as drill and needle .The dentist will use special words to explain things.

□    Talk about the good things about visiting the dentist such as counting teeth and learning how to care for them.

□    Make the dental appointment an accepted part of regular routine., not a special event.

Is there anything else i need to do?

□    Inform the dental staff of any medical condition or past incident which may affect your child’s behaviour and ability to cope .This will allow the dental team to adjust their approach.

□    Accompany your child to the dentist.

□    Be a passive observer, to enable dental staff to capture and hold your child’s complete attention.

When should the next visit be?

Children, like adults should see the dentist every six months. Some dentists may schedule interim visits for every three months when the child is very young to build up a comfort and confidence level, or to treat a developing problem.

Five ways to Protect your Child’s Oral Health at Home

Parents typically provide oral hygiene care until the child is old enough to take personal responsibility for the daily dental health routine of brushing and flossing. A proper regimen of home preventive care is important from the day your child is born.

 

  1.    Clean your infant’s gums with a clean damp cloth. Ask your dentist if you may rub a tiny dab of toothpaste on the gums.
  2.    As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.
  3.    To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off of the breast and bottle by one year of age and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime.Help a young child brush at night- the most important time to brush due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities and plaque.
  4. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then the parent can follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. Usually by age five or so, the child can learn to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction. The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example.
  5. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.

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