To have good, strong healthy teeth as an adult, it’s best to learn good oral hygiene habits as a child. One big component in every child’s oral hygiene is regular visits to the dentist. In this article, we’ll cover some common questions parents ask regarding visits to the dentist.
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When should my child begin to visit the dentist?
- The first dentist appointment for your child should be scheduled prior to the time they turn one. Generally, dentists recommend seeing a dentist by their first birthday or when their first tooth starts to come in, whichever comes first. It’s important for your child to have dentist appointments early on in life so they can avoid problems such as tooth decay. It’s also the best time for parents to learn how to care for their child’s teeth.
A child is vulnerable to tooth decay as soon as they begin teething. By going to the dentist early on, you can set your child up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene. It also begins to get your child used to the dental office, making them less anxious and fearful to go later on.
Is there anything I can do to prepare?
- Prior to the appointment, ask the dentist what they plan to do so you don’t have to be surprised. Try to think of ways to deal with any possible situation. If your child is cooperative, then you are one of the lucky ones. It’s more common for a child to be uncooperative and refuse to stay still. You may want to bring along some things to distract or soothe them during the visit.
Talk to them and let them know about their dental appointment, too. Even if your kid doesn’t quite understand, they may adopt your enthusiasm. Don’t forget to bring along all your child’s medical records!
What will be done on the first dental appointment?
- Most of the time, a child’s first dental appointment is just a session to start getting them used to the environment. It isn’t uncommon for appointments to be rescheduled because of frightened or fussy children. Be patient to your child and keep reassuring them that it’s okay to go to the dentist. These visits will help your child become acquainted with the dentist and the environment, and usually makes it much easier if your child has to be treated for anything later on.
- Try to schedule your child’s dental appointments in the morning when your child is awake and fresh. Young kids under 3 years old often have to sit on their parents’ laps in the dental chair during the visit. However, some dentists also request that parents wait outside and let them befriend your child.
- If your child is cooperative, the dentist will go on with the examination. This usually consists of no more than half an hour of a gentle examination of teeth, gums, and the rest of the mouth, some light cleaning, some x-rays, basic oral hygiene education, and evaluation of whether your child needs fluoride.
If you have any questions, ask the dentist. He or she should be able to answer them in a calm and confident way. It’s also a good sign if they get along well with your child and make them feel safe and comfortable. Your child should not feel afraid and threatened in the environment.
When should I schedule the next appointment?
- Most of the time, it’s best for children to visit the dentist twice a year – every six months. If necessary, the dentist may schedule a visit sooner than that, especially if your child needs to become more acclimated to the environment or has to be treated for something.
What can I do to protect my child’s oral hygiene at home?
You’ll have to take care of your child’s teeth until they can be trusted to brush and floss on their own. From the day you bring your baby home from the hospital, you’ll have to start with the following things:
- After your baby has been fed, use a soft, damp cloth to wipe his or her gums.
- After your baby’s teeth start coming in, use a small, soft toothbrush and some water to brush their teeth after every feeding. Don’t use toothpaste until the dentist gives you the go-ahead.
- Babies that breast feed or suck on a bottle for too long are susceptible to tooth decay and teeth misalignment. To reduce changes of your baby suffering from this, do your best to wean your baby off the breast and the bottle by their first birthday. After that, continue to ensure that he or she doesn’t excessively suck pacifiers or fingers. Don’t allow your child to drink a bottle of milk, juice, or any other sweet drink before a nap or bed.
- As your child grows older and begins to learn how to brush themselves, monitor their brushing and ensure that they brush before going to bed. This is the most important time to brush during the day because they will not be producing as much saliva and are more vulnerable to cavities. A good way to start is to let your child practice brushing first. After that, you can check to ensure that everything is clean. Most children can brush on their own by eight years of age.
- Always remember to be a good example. Your kids will do what you do, so by letting them watch you brush, you are instilling in them good oral habits.
If you are looking for a child friendly, affordable dental office in Seattle, stop by today to see how we can help.