As your baby grows and hits new milestones every day, you don’t want to overlook their first dental visit. It’s a good idea to schedule the first visit after their first tooth appears.
As soon as your baby has a tooth, they can get cavities. Starting them out with good oral care and introducing them to the dentist is the best way to be proactive about their dental health.
You want to start early teaching your child the value of good dental care. If you’re getting ready for your baby’s first dental visit, we have some tips!
Here’s a guide to prepare you for your baby’s first trip to the dentist.
Very Young Children at the Dentist
Typically, babies’ first teeth come in when they are six to 12 months old. When you see that first tooth, it’s time to schedule the first trip to the dentist.
The dentist will check your child’s tooth for decay, but more importantly, this first visit is a chance to introduce your child to the dentist in a positive way.
You want visits to the dentist to be a normal part of their childhood. Starting early can help your child feel comfortable and avoid becoming fearful about visiting the dentist.
Preparing for Baby’s First Dental Visit
You can help make your baby’s first dental visit a positive one. It’s a new experience with new people, sights, and sounds.
You and the dentist can help make the initial visit fun and exciting instead of scary. You want your baby to feel happy, calm, and confident.
There are a few things you can do to create a positive situation for your baby.
- Talk to your baby positively about where you’re going
- Play the “Ahhh game” and have them open and close their mouth
- Read a picture book about a trip to the dentist
- Watch a fun video about going to the dentist
- Help your baby explore the dentist’s office and “take a ride” in the chair
What to Expect From the First Dental Exam
You may envision a perfect first visit to the dentist, but chances are it may not go as planned. That’s okay! Don’t worry if your child won’t sit still or is a bit fussy.
It’s perfectly normal, and your dentist won’t mind. Taking them to the first appointment is a good first step.
At the first visit, your dentist should engage with your child. The dentist will examine your child to make sure their mouth and jaw are developing normally.
The dentist will check for dental problems, look for oral injuries, and clean your child’s teeth and gums. You will stay with your baby during the visit.
The dentist may ask you to hold your child in your lap to soothe them. This is called a “knee-to-knee” dental exam.
Before you go, they should provide you with tips for caring for your child’s teeth and setting them on the path to good oral health.
Tips for Making the First Visit Easier
- Schedule an appointment after nap time so your baby will be rested
- Feed your baby a light meal before the appointment to calm them
- Brush baby’s teeth before the appointment
- Work with the dental team to help calm your baby
- Save snacks for after the visit so the dentist can see your baby’s teeth
- Pack a few favorite small toys in case your baby needs a distraction
- Fill out forms ahead of time or online if possible
- Find out ahead about your baby’s first dentist visit cost
- Have your child’s health history ready for the dentist
- Prepare a list of questions you want to ask
- Try to stay calm to help your baby have a positive experience
A first visit to the dentist is a milestone for your baby. It’s a special day for Mom or Dad too. Your child’s oral health is a vital part of their overall health.
You can feel good knowing you are starting them on the right path to regular dental visits and good oral health. Your child’s dentist is there to care for your child’s teeth and provide the dental services your child may need in the coming years.
Choosing a Dentist for Your Baby
A pediatric dentist or a family dentist is a good choice for your child. They have the knowledge and training to care for children of all ages.
They understand that going to the first dental appointment is a big first step. They know how to make it fun and how to soothe your baby if they become overwhelmed.
You want to choose a dentist you feel comfortable with. They should be willing to answer your questions and offer helpful advice about caring for your child’s teeth.
Praise and Positive Reinforcement
Visiting the dentist for the first time is a new and sometimes scary experience for a young child. Although most little ones enjoy the experience, no amount of prep can guarantee your child will be a happy camper.
The first visit helps reinforce that going to the dentist is a safe and fun experience. Some praise and positive reinforcement are helpful as well.
After the visit, be sure to reward your child with something they love like a trip to the park, fun stickers, or hugs and kisses. A small reward is just another way to make your child’s dental appointment a positive experience.
Find the Right Local Dentist for Your Baby
As your baby grows, there are so many milestones to celebrate. Don’t overlook the importance of your baby’s first dental visit.
You want your little one to have a positive experience from the start. There are many things you can do to prepare them and make the initial visit fun.
If you’re looking for a dentist for your little one, we’d love to meet you. We provide a friendly, relaxed environment for all of our patients in the Greater Toronto area. And we’re open evenings and weekends for your convenience.
Contact The Dental Team today to schedule an appointment.