The arrival of your baby’s first teeth is an important milestone to celebrate. It allows your child to graduate to a range of new foods. Baby teeth are just as important as your child’s future permanent teeth as they help to chew, speak, and hold space in the jaw for the permanent teeth that develop below the gums.
Besides embracing this new stage, you should also start thinking about your child’s first visit to the dentist. Here are 5 important things to know before you schedule it.
1. The ideal age
The first dental visit of your child must take place after the first tooth emerges, but not later than the first birthday. Why? Your baby can get cavities as soon as his/her milk teeth arrive. Your dentist will also help you to develop a good oral care routine for your child which will help keep their smile healthy throughout their life.
2. Prepare your child
Speak to them about what will happen during the visit, and be positive. Make your child practice opening his or her mouth to get them primed for the appointment. Make sure your child is well-rested and not hungry during the appointment. Also, see that the appointment time doesn’t clash with their napping schedule.
3. Prepare yourself
Discuss with the dentist your questions and worries. Bear in mind that your dental visit can be very different from that of your kid. If you’re anxious about dental visits make sure you don’t display it to your child. Children can absorb the anxieties of parents and become nervous themselves. By remaining calm when in the dental exam room, parents can provide moral support. Never bribe your child to go to a dentist or use the appointment as a threat or a punishment.
4. Prepare your dentist
Present your child’s full health history to the dentist at the first visit. Inform your dentist of your child’s behaviour and update the team if your child tends to be stubborn, defiant, nervous, or afraid in other similar circumstances.
5. Know what to expect
You’ll be sitting in the dental chair with your child on your lap during the appointment if your child can’t sit in the chair alone — or doesn’t want to. Your child will be checked by your dentist to ensure their teeth and jaws are growing in the way they should. Your dentist will also check for cavities or any other dental problems.
Every day your baby reaches new milestones and his or her first dental appointment is another one to be included in the baby book! Try to make the visit an enjoyable outing. By being diligent and proactive with your child’s dental care and developing a good working relationship with your dentist, you will ensure that your child establishes a proper oral care routine that will last a lifetime.