Your child’s first dental visit is to help your child feel comfortable with the dentist. The first dental visit is recommended by 12 months of age, or within 6 months of the first tooth coming in. The first visit often lasts 30 to 45 minutes. Depending on your child’s age, the visit may include a full exam of the teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues to check growth and development. If needed, your child may also have a gentle cleaning. This may also include applying a sealant or fluoride to reduce the risk of decay. The dentist will likely discuss your child’s diet and oral hygiene habits and demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques.
• Schedule the visit for your child at a time of day when he or she is rested and most likely to cooperate.
• Build excitement and understanding.
• Explain why it is important to go to the dentist.
• Prepare the child for the visit by giving him or her a general idea of what to expect.
Discuss your questions and concerns with the dentist. Be honest with your view of the dentist. If you have dental anxieties, be careful not to relate those fears or dislikes to your child. Remember that your feeling toward dental visits can be quite different from your child’s. Parents need to give moral support by staying calm while in the dental exam room. With respect to your interaction with the dentist, give your child’s complete health history and if possible, try to guess how the child may respond and inform the dentist in advance.
After the exam, the dentist will discuss your child’s oral health, including your child’s risk of tooth decay, other oral health concerns and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your child’s oral health.
The dentist will also recommend when to return for a follow-up visit — typically every six months. If your child is at high risk of tooth decay or has other oral health concerns, more-frequent checkups might be suggested.
Regular dental exams help protect your child’s oral health. They give your child’s dentist a chance to detect problems early, when they’re most treatable, and provide tips for caring for your child’s teeth.
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