Your child's first dental visit is an exciting milestone, and there's no reason it should be frightening. As long as you properly prepare your child in advance, you are both likely to have a stress-free visit.
According to the experts at Colgate, your child should have his first dentist appointment by his first birthday. Indeed, studies have shown an increased occurrence of cavities in preschool-aged children. Taking your child to the dentist within six months of getting his first tooth will allow your dental professional to assess his cavity risk and explain the best ways to prevent tooth decay. It will also get your child used to going to the dentist; thus, minimizing potential fear in the future.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene at Home
According to the American Dental Assocation (ADA), babies are at risk for dental decay as soon as their teeth begin to emerge. The ADA recommends starting to gently wipe your baby's gums with a damp washcloth a few days after he is born. This should be done daily.
As soon as the first tooth comes through, start brushing it with a child-size toothbrush and water. Once the child is two, begin adding a pea-sized drop of fluoride toothpaste to the brush.
Set a Good Example
If possible, take your child with you when you go to the dentist (making sure you have an older child or another adult who can watch your little one while you're in the chair). You can also let your child watch as his older siblings have exams or dental work done.
At home, you can establish good oral care habits by brushing and flossing with your child. If he sees dental visits and daily dental hygiene routines as normal occurrences, he will be much less afraid to visit the dentist when it's his turn.
Hit your local bookstore or public library to pick up books and videos about oral care and going to the dentist. Look for books with familiar characters, and check out YouTube for videos featuring your child's favorite characters.
Doing your best to make your child feel safe and comfortable during his first dentist appointment can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy dental practice.