10 Tips for Taking Your Baby to the Dentist for Their First Time
Introducing Your Baby to Their Pediatric Dentist
The arrival of your baby’s first shiny white tooth is an exciting time for parents. This milestone is a reminder that your baby’s gummy smile will soon be full of pearly white teeth that will need special care to prevent pesky tooth decay and other potential dental problems. The arrival of the first tooth also signifies that it’s time for your baby’s first dental visit.
When to Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Visit
The American Dental Association recommends babies see a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday. There are two reasons for taking youngsters to the dentist at such an early age.
1. Routine visits help babies grow accustomed to visiting a dentist.
A dental office is a very peculiar place for babies and toddlers. Even though it does bear some resemblance to their pediatrician’s or family doctor’s office, there are still new sights, smells, and sensations. These factors, coupled with having their mouth examined, can be a very overwhelming sensory overload.
By bringing your baby in for regular visits at such a young age, you’re helping them grow accustomed to visiting a dentist. They’ll be able to learn that their pediatric dentist and the dental care team are friends, and they’ll become confident in having their mouths and teeth examined. This early desensitizing really pays off as it helps kids avoid developing dental anxiety as they grow older.
2. Proactive dental care is crucial for preventing early cavities.
Helping your baby achieve optimal oral health now and as they continue to grow comes down to prevention and proactive treatment.
The ideal situation would be at-home dental care and regular cleanings preventing early cavities. However, cavities do happen for many reasons, so it’s realistic to say your child may develop one or two. In this case, proactive treatment will nip the tooth decay in the bud and continuing preventive dental care will reduce the chances of developing more cavities.
There is no one more capable of spotting those very early signs of tooth decay than a skilled pediatric dentist. Taking your baby to see their dentist every six months always pays off and is one of the best investments you can make toward your child’s present and future smile.
How to Prepare Your Baby (and Yourself) for Visits to the Dentist
If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about your baby’s first dental visit, remember that fussing, showing some fear, or even being uncooperative are all completely normal behaviors for babies and toddlers. An experienced pediatric dentist will be a valuable guide in helping your baby relax, calm down, and also help you as a parent feel more confident. This makes picking an awesome dentist our #1 tip for parents.
Aside from choosing a great pediatric dentist, here are 9 other tips for helping you and your baby have a great experience:
1. Watch some kids’ shows or flip through a picture book that shows what visiting a dentist is like.
2. Always use positive, age-appropriate language so your baby doesn’t get any ideas that a dentist is something to worry about.
3. Bring along your baby’s favorite toy, blanket, or another comfort item that will help them feel secure. Try to not bring anything too large that might get in the way of the dentist.
4. Play ‘Dentist’ at home to get your baby used to someone looking in their mouths as well as understanding phrases, such as “open wide!”
5. Ask your baby’s dentist ahead of time about what will happen during the visit so you and your baby won’t feel surprised.
6. See if you can fill out any necessary medical or new patient forms online before the actual appointment. This will save time during check-in.
7. Make a note of any questions you’d like to ask your baby’s dentist so you don’t forget. You might ask about at-home dental care for babies or how diet impacts children’s oral health.
8. Start practicing dental care at home by gently brushing your child’s baby teeth or wiping their gums with a clean damp cloth.
9. Request a ‘Happy Visit’ appointment where you and your baby can visit the office and meet the dentist and team before a real examination.
A Dental Home for Families in Flower Mound, TX.
River Walk Dental provides complete dental care for families in Flower Mound, Texas.
Dr. Naik and her team not only care for adult smiles, but also provide general pediatric dental care for kids of all ages, including babies who are seeing a dentist for the very first time. In fact, if you’re due for a check-up yourself, you can even book your child’s visit at the same time as yours. To learn more about River Walk Dental or book your baby’s first dental visit, you can either call our office directly or use this handy online form.