Your toddler’s first dentist appointment is essential to your toddler’s overall health. However, you may have some questions, such as how old my toddler should be before a first dentist appointment, how to prepare, and finding a dentist you can trust. We have some tips about your toddler’s first dentist appointment.
Schedule the Dental Appointment
Scheduling your toddler’s first dentist appointment is easy, either by phone or email. However, a common question is when to bring your children for their first dentist visit. You should take your child for their first visit when they get their first teeth. Children usually have their first dental appointment between six months and one year of age. Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital says children typically have their first dental appointments around six months old. Making an appointment before a child’s first birthday ensures your child is on the dentist’s schedule. The dentist will set up regular dental visits when your child has the first appointment to keep track of your child’s dental progress.
Why Should Your Child Go to the Dentist So Early?
According to the Australian Dental Association, half of Australian children under six years old begin to have tooth decay. Catching tooth problems early on can help your dentist diagnose and treat issues effectively. Strong and healthy teeth early in life will mean your child will have strong and healthy teeth when they are older.
If There’s an Emergency
If you notice anything odd in your child’s mouth, such as white spots, wounds, bleeding, make an appointment at once. Abnormalities can signal health problems such as thrush – also known as a yeast infection. Serious issues such as oral cancer are rare in children, but your dentist should check any abnormalities or wounds to ensure your child is healthy.
Prepare for the Dental Appointment
Young children tend to manage best when they have a full night’s sleep the night before a dental appointment. They are also at their best in the morning when they are alert and well-rested. Avoid scheduling your toddler’s first dental appointment in the afternoon when they may be tired and cranky. Don’t take your children away from the middle of an activity if you can help it. Young children have trouble with abrupt transitions. Your toddler’s first dental appointment should be a positive experience. Read books about dental visits or watch age-appropriate videos about going to the dentist. If possible, schedule a visit before the appointment to introduce your child to the dental office.
Parents need preparation time too. Get there a few minutes before the appointment to have time to fill out registration forms and answer the medical receptionist’s questions. Some offices have online forms to fill out before the appointment. Medical forms often have several questions parents need to know, such as the child’s medical history, pediatrician’s contact information, and any medications the child is taking. Having time to answer these questions can help your dentist give better care to your child.
Call ahead to the dental office for children with special needs to discuss the needs with the staff member who schedules the appointment. A dentist and dental staff may want extra time for children with special needs.
Finding a Dentist You Trust
Finding a dentist for your toddler’s first dental appointment creates long-term care for your child’s teeth. Your family, friends, or co-workers may know a dentist they can recommend. Your family pediatrician or local pharmacist may know a good dentist. The Australian Dental Association has a website where you can find recommendations.
What Should I Think About When Choosing a Dentist?
You and your child’s dentist will be long-term oral health care partners. Some questions you should ask the receptionist at the dental clinic are:
- What are your office hours?
Pick a dentist with office hours to accommodate your schedule as well as your toddler’s.
- Where are you located?
A dental office near your house is easier for your toddler to manage emotionally than one far away. Children don’t like riding long distances for dental appointments.
- Is the dentist trained to work with children?
A pediatric dentist knows how to make children feel more comfortable during their first dental appointment. Find a dentist trained to work with special needs children if you need specialized care. Look at the ‘About’ or ‘Meet the team’ section of the dental practice’s website for this information.
What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment
At your toddler’s first dental appointment, a pediatric dentist will ensure your children’s teeth are coming in correctly. Your dentist will check for tooth decay, tooth injuries, gum problems, and general oral health during the appointment. The dentist will also advise you about taking care of your children’s teeth.
For your toddler’s first dental visit at one year old with no permanent teeth, the first visit might include x-rays of the back teeth and front teeth.
Your toddler’s first dental appointment includes a gentle cleaning. Teeth cleaning for a toddler means polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar, or stains. Your child’s dentist will show your child proper teeth cleaning techniques such as flossing and brushing.
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Child
Finding a dentist for your children helps them have strong, healthy teeth when they are older. At Dana Street Dental, we care for your children’s dental health. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to make an appointment.