Many children get scared or express apprehension when they know they are going to the dentist for the first time. All the more reason to start your baby on a lifetime of good oral hygiene at an early age. It is up to you (with help from us) to prepare your child for the visit by emphasizing the positive reasons for good dental care. Avoid using words such as "needle," pull," "hurt," or "drill," as these sometimes trigger fears in a child. The earlier the child is accustomed to visiting the dentist, the less those fears will be pronounced in later years.
For young children, especially those under three years, a parent or relative may accompany the child throughout the procedure. Older children are encouraged to show independence.
Many first visits are nothing more than introductory icebreakers to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice. If the child is frightened, uncomfortable, or uncooperative, you may need to reschedule your appointment.
Patience and calm on your part will help ensure a successful and stress-free visit for your child. Schedule the appointment as early as possible in the day, when your child is alert and fresh.
The typical first dental appointment for your child could include one or more of the following:
- 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 needed, a gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar build-up, and stains.
- A demonstration of proper dental hygiene.
- Assessment of the need for fluoride.