Protecting your child’s teeth involves coordinating with their pediatric dentist early. Generally, it’s wise to schedule your child’s first dental appointment as soon as their first tooth erupts and no later than their first birthday.
What should you expect during your child’s first dental appointment? Although the specifics can vary from one patient to another, typically, the first visit with your child’s pediatric dentist is a low-pressure meeting that involves at least as much conversation as examination.
Your Child’s First Dental Appointment is a Learning Opportunity for You
Often, the purpose of a child’s first trip to the pediatric dentist is to give parents a chance to learn about important topics related to a child’s oral health. According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, topics a dentist might address during this appointment include:
- Best practices for feeding a young child
- How to clean your child’s mouth before they’re old enough to do so themselves
- What you should expect in regard to teething
- What constitutes healthy pacifier usage
- What to do if habits like thumb-sucking persist
Individual dentists might comment on other topics not on this list. If you have any questions about issues your child’s dentist doesn’t touch on during your baby’s first dental appointment, make sure to ask. Meeting with your child’s dentist gives you a chance to fill in any knowledge gaps regarding how to optimize your child’s oral health.
Your Child’s Dentist Will Ask Questions
Even though this may technically be your child’s first dental appointment, as their parent, you will likely be the focus of the dentist’s attention at various points throughout your visit. Specifically, the dentist is likely to ask questions about topics ranging from your child’s feeding habits to how often they use a pacifier.
Ensure the parent who accompanies your child to their first dental appointment is prepared to answer these questions. Ideally, both parents should attend, as the dentist may ask questions about your oral health history. The more information you can provide your child’s dentist with during their first appointment, the better.
The Examination During Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
A child’s first trip to the dentist will usually involve a basic visual examination of their teeth and oral tissues. Their dentist will want to confirm that everything appears to be developing properly and naturally.
The dentist will make a point of assuming a warm and calming presence during the examination. Be aware, pediatric dentists specialize in treating children, and are thus typically able to offer a pleasant, kid-friendly atmosphere.
Depending on such factors as your child’s age and the degree to which plaque has (or hasn’t) built up on their teeth, the dentist may perform a basic cleaning using a soft brush. When doing so, they can demonstrate to you how you can brush your child’s teeth at home.
The dentist might notice early signs of dental health issues when they examine your child’s teeth and gums. Or, depending on the information you provide them with, they might identify risk factors that could increase your child’s odds of developing certain oral health conditions. If the dentist identifies issues or risk factors, they will likely recommend early treatment to prevent said issues from developing into problems.
Such measures often aren’t necessary. Usually, a dentist will conclude a child’s first dental appointment by explaining when to schedule your child’s next appointment.
The main point to understand is that a child’s first visit with the dentist is generally a painless experience for everyone involved. Just remember, the sooner your child sees their dentist, the sooner you can begin taking all possible steps to maximize their oral wellness.
Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Appointment in Albuquerque
At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, we strive to ensure your child’s first dental visit is positive and informative. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 505-888-3520 to request an appointment.