First Dentist Visit

When should I bring my child in for his/hers first dental appointment?

We chose to address this subject since it is an often question we get from our patients:

When should I bring my child in for his/hers first dental appointment?
Most specialist tend to recommend the first dental appointment at about one year of age or six months after the first two teeth erupt. As much as we would like to meet your kid, we think that if parents don't have any concerns and they are diligent about they job of cleaning these little pearls as soon as they show up, the kid can postpone the visit for the second birthday or even 2 and a half years of age.

A healthy mouth and good habits start very early in life!
Sure, baby teeth don’t hang around forever (they generally start to fall out to make way for adult teeth by the time your child is six or seven), but it’s still important to keep those tiny teeth — and gums — in tip-top shape while they’re saving the spots for grownup teeth.

How do you make sure those pearly whites stay pearly?
First, help your toddler to brush his teeth (or tooth) at least twice a day (use nonfluoridated toothpaste until your toddler knows how to spit out the paste fully). At this stage, we recommend that mom and dad are doing the job. We all deal with tantrums aimed at the toothbrush but don't be discouraged! They will eventually pick up the habit and hold it for a lifetime.

Next thing you will do is to book first dentist appointment — if you haven’t already. But before you assume that getting your toddler into the dentist’s chair will involve either a tantrum or bribery, remember that your child doesn’t harbour any ill will toward his first dentist — yet. After all, he hasn’t had a close encounter with Mr. Drill or The Mosquito.
For him, his first dentist appointment could be as much fun as a stop at the local amusement park (the chair goes up and down, back and forth!). So keep your own negative feelings in check (if you have any) and let your child enjoy his first dental visit with the same enthusiasm as a visit to Grandma’s (without the candy, of course). Your dentist couldn't thank you more!

What will happen?
Expect the first dentist appointment to be short and informal — more of a meet and greet for your child and the dentist. We call it a Happy Visit.
Depending on your child’s age and comfort level, you may be asked to hold him while the dentist checks his mouth. Or you may be asked to hang back in the waiting room so your toddler can have some quality time to get to know the dentist and staff on his own.

As for the business of inspecting your tot’s teeth, the dentist will check for decay and take a look at your child’s gums, jaw, and bite. The dentist or the hygienist may clean your child’s teeth and apply a fluoride preparation (particularly if there is a stain or a high risk of cavities) or he or she may save that for the next visit. Chances are, the dentist will talk to you about good oral-hygiene habits — and give you the chance to ask any questions you may have about toddler teething, thumb sucking, tooth-friendly foods, or anything else that pertains to your toddler’s oral health.
You may want to bring a list of your questions to the appointment so that you remember them when you’ve got the dentist’s attention.

How often to visit?
Based on how your toddler’s teeth look, your dentist will let you know when to make the next visit. Most experts recommend that toddlers see the dentist about every six months — as long as there are no major problems. So don’t forget to schedule your child’s second appointment on your way out the door!

Dentist St. Albert

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