Many parents are uncertain about whether the child is old enough to see the dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that the first visit of an infant should be when the first tooth erupts-at least two years old. From there on the dentist will continue to prescribe the frequency of visits to be observed by the parents.
Which Dentist Should I Go to?
Definitely, a family dentist will help give you a quick rundown of how to care for your child’s teeth and whether there are any urgent problems to be discussed. To take your child to a pediatric dentist, though, is safest.
There are dentists who have completed two or three years of advanced training in working with children after dental school, and are ideally prepared to help your child get acquainted with the office of the dentist. Many pediatric dentist offices have fun décor and toys that make kids feel relaxed.
What is the Dentist Going to do During the Visit?
The first visit to the dentist is more about establishing a relationship between your child and the dentist than getting any actual work done.
Familiarize your child with the staff and the office in a way that builds trust and makes your child less scared of returning. Too often, if kids develop a negative association with a place such as a doctor’s office, they will be more difficult to calm down later on.
The dentist will introduce himself to your child and help your child be comfortable with the various instruments in a non-threatening way, to eliminate any anxiety that the child may have. This can be by making the child explore the office and chair on its own a little before the session starts, or by giving the tools gentle names like ‘tooth sweeper’ to create meaningful associations.
Finally, the dentist will perform a brief inspection of the child’s mouth, checking for any possible damage, unusual bites, or gum or jaw problems. This will serve to give you an indication if there is anything that can affect their teeth or speech patterns. They will then guide you on how you can best care for your child’s teeth to prevent any major problems from developing.
If your child has some pain you think might be linked to dental issues, long before their first tooth has emerged, you should consider seeing a dentist just to be on the safe side. Make sure you ask your dentist any questions you have – they ‘re there to help and they’ll be delighted to see you take an active interest in that.
Want to learn more? Give our office a call at 203.878.8596. We look forward to speaking with you.