As a parent, you know how important your child's dental health is to their overall wellbeing and the prevention of dental decay. But before your child's first dentist appointment, you may be filled with mixed emotion and questions. Set your mind at ease with these tips.
The beginning of a new school year commonly coincides with children scheduling their dental appointments. For families who have children coming to Sunshine Children's Dentistry as new patients, here are some common questions we have answered for parents.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD FIRST SEE A DENTIST?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends bringing your child to a pediatric dentist for a routine dental exam before celebrating their first birthday. We often recommend making an appointment when baby's teeth begin to emerge. However, we also provide oral services and surgeries for newborn babies. If your child is school age and just having their first dentist appointment, don't worry! You haven't missed the boat. We care for children of all ages.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY CHILD'S FIRST VISIT? The best way to prepare your child for the first appointment with us is to give as little information as possible. This may sound strange, but our office is designed with your child's comfort in mind. Our entire staff is here because we love children, and everything we do is for their benefit; your child will sense this.
WHAT WILL BE DONE AT THE FIRST VISIT?
During your first visit, your child will be introduced to the dental environment at his/her own pace. A thorough examination will be performed, a cleaning, and necessary x-rays will be taken. This all depends on your child's behavior, which will determine how much is accomplished at each visit. Our main goal is for a positive experience, and we will adjust our approach specifically for your child.
The results of the exam and x-rays will be discussed with you, a treatment plan will be determined, appointments will be scheduled, and financial arrangements will be made. If this is an emergency visit, the immediate problem will be addressed and routine procedures will be postponed.
WHAT SHOULD I SAY TO MY CHILD? Tell your child that he/she will have FUN at a place where other little children love to get their smile cleaned! It is often best not to mention the appointment until the day you are scheduled. A parent's reaction to dental care is crucial in determining how the child will approach his or her visit to the dentist.
Do not offer more information than your child asks for; keep it simple. Do not offer threats or bribes of any kind for good behavior. A bribe tends to indicate something bad may happen. Please do not make any promises about what the dental staff will or won't do; stress that any questions will be answered before any treatment begins. Don't forget to tell them that they are seeing a "children's" dentist.
WHAT IF MY CHILD GETS UPSET?
It is not unusual for a young child to cry. We ask that you not be upset if this happens. Crying is a child's normal reaction to the fear of the unknown. We understand your child's fears, and our well-trained staff will work with you to modify or erase them. Remember that our goals are the same as yours - we want your child to feel comfortable and safe at our office, and we will take our time and work at her or his pace to accomplish that goal.
AT HOME, HOW SHOULD I CARE FOR MY CHILD'S MOUTH?
Even infants are at risk for tooth decay from the sugars in milk, juice, and food. At least twice a day, you can wipe down your baby's gums with a clean, damp washcloth to remove bacteria buildup. When baby's teeth come in, a rice-sized drop of fluoride toothpaste on a soft bristled toothbrush will be appropriate. For older children, be sure to brush twice daily and floss once daily. Make it fun! Children will develop a love for their oral health if approached in a positive way, such as humming a song or making it a game.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
Maintaining good oral health habits goes a long way. Make sure that daily brushing and flossing are a part of your family's routine. Rinse your mouth with water after eating. Stay up to date with your dental appointments by scheduling them semiannually. And feel free to ask questions at your dental appointments! We are happy to answer any concerns you may have. We serve children of all ages, including newborns.
The Sunshine Children's Dentistry LOVES our patients! Your family is a blessing to everyone at our office. If you ever need to reach us, our number is 910.762.7736.
For more helpful resources and fun activities, be sure to read our other Blog Articles.