Your child’s first trip to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, many tots look forward to being “big kids” who are developing a mouth full of strong teeth that need to be cared for.
The American Dental Association recommends that little ones go for their first dental visits by the age of one, or within six months of developing their first tooth.
Where should you go for your toddler’s first dental visit? A great place to start is a pediatric dentist.
These dental professionals are highly trained to respond to the questions, emotions, and dental needs that are particular to children. They make the experience positive, playful, and educational for spirited mini-patients.
How can you prepare your child for their first trip to a Chicago pediatric dentist? Here are some ideas.
Choose a Chicago Pediatric Dentist Wisely
Choosing the right dentist for your child’s first trip is crucial to their early impression of dental visits.
You can ask friends, Facebook parent groups, or your local school for recommendations for a pediatric dentist.
Like all dentists, pediatric professionals must earn a DDS or DMD from an accredited dental school. Pediatric dentists, however, undergo an additional two years of training that allow them to specialize in treating children.
They must complete a pediatric dental residency that includes classes on child psychology. They must also pass both parts of the National Board Dental Examination.
Choosing a professional who specializes in pediatric care is an excellent decision because these dentists are prepared to make the experience positive and enlightening, minimizing the natural fear that a lot of kids carry into their first time to the dentist.
A pediatric dentist‘s office will appear different than your own. When you first walk in, kids are immediately drawn to the games, puzzles, and toys available in the waiting area.
Pediatric dental spaces are often decorated with bright murals of spacescapes or underwater scenes. TV’s playing cartoons can sometimes be viewed while kids are being examined. Prizes including toys, toothpaste, and toothbrushes are available for kids at the end of a successful visit.
Pediatric dental professionals are experts at putting children at ease.
They discuss healthy eating habits, such as choosing fruits, vegetables, and water. They show children how to brush and floss properly. Children can get helpful aids like timers or charts to encourage adequate hygiene at home.
Pediatric dentists are also trained in treating children with special needs. They have sedation options available that are safe and helpful for children who are very young or those with high anxiety.
They treat children from ages one to eighteen and may continue treating patients with special cases even after that.
Brush Before Going
You can introduce your child to dental health before their first trip to the dentist.
You can wipe the child’s tooth with a soft cloth after feedings before they even begin to teethe. This helps to remove bacteria that can develop into plaque later on.
When your child’s first tooth arrives, a soft, tiny toothbrush and warm water can be used to clean the area.
After your child turns two you can begin using toothpaste, but only a pea-sized dab is needed. It’s recommended that parents supervise their children’s tooth-brushing until they are eight years old.
There are lots of great videos you can show your kids to get them excited about their first trip to the dentist.
Before a toddler’s first dental visit, you can pretend to be the dentist who counts their teeth, brushes them gently, and gives them a toothbrush at the end of the appointment
Showing children photos of the equipment that will be used, and explaining their purposes, will help to minimize the fear children might feel when they see them for the first time.
Give your child a chance to play the dentist, welcoming mommy or daddy into their office. Your child can set up a dentist chair and clean your teeth. You can tell them you are a little nervous and let them reassure you that everything will be fine
Make a List of Concerns
Parents are often concerned about the effects of toddler sucking habits, such as pacifiers and thumbs, on their children’s dental health.
A great time to discuss when to begin weaning children is at their first dental visit.
You may also have teething concerns such as irritability and teeth problems. A pediatric dentist is the ideal person to talk to about what is normal, and what should be addressed. You may be able to find solutions right away.
You can discuss nutrition that is optimal for pediatric dental health. Foods rich in protein, such as milk, eggs, and cheese are ideal for healthy tooth growth.
Children should also drink water with fluoride. They should avoid sugary drinks, which have a high acid rate that causes tooth erosion.
Prepare to Leave Happy
Remind your child ahead of time that if they are cooperative and respectful at the dentist, they will be able to go home with a great bag of treats. You’ll also be very proud of them for acting like a big, brave boy or girl!
Overall, your toddler’s first dental visit should not be intimidating.
They will be introduced to the dentist, who will check their bite and look for any potential hygiene problems. Your child’s teeth will be cleaned, and the dentist may recommend fluoride.
Be sure to praise your child generously for being a good patient. They will remember how good they felt next time they have an appointment!
You’re on Your Way
Brushing, playing dentist, and discussing the upcoming visit are all great ways to prepare for your child’s first trip to a Chicago Pediatric Dentist.
As long as you stay positive about the dentist, your child will pick up on your good attitude. If you follow the tips in this article your child’s first dental visit will be a breeze!
To learn more or make an appointment, contact us by phone or e-mail.