What To Expect At Your Child's First Trip To The Dentist

According to the American Academy of Dentistry, your child should see the dentist before their first birthday. But if this is your first child and you've never taken him or her to the dentist then you're probably wondering what to expect. Or if your child is older and going for the first time they may have some anxiety. Here is a breakdown of exactly what to expect so you and your child can be ready for their first visit.

  1. Meet and Greet: This first visit is a great opportunity for your child to become comfortable with their dentist. New places and new faces can be scary for little ones so if you can establish that relationship early and show your own excitement, then your child will begin to understand that this is someone they can trust, even if it takes a couple of visits. If your child is still a baby they may even have you sit in the chair and hold your child to provide more comfort and encourage cooperation.
  2. Discussion: One of the biggest things to expect at your child's first dentist is a discussion of oral health. Taking care of your child's teeth is somewhat different than taking care of your own, so your child's dentist will discuss the how's and when's and why's of taking care of their teeth. They'll teach you about brushing, flossing, and fluoride. They'll discuss pacifiers and thumb sucking. They'll teach you the stages of development and what foods and drinks are best for your child's teeth and which ones are worst.
  3. Exam: The exam at this age is very brief. It's basically just a quick exam and a brush, showing you how to do it yourself. If your child is older or has a higher risk for cavities, they will do a more thorough cleaning, floss, and fluoride treatment.
  4. X-Rays: If your child is over the age of 4, then they will do an x-ray. X-rays at this age are for checking for healthy teeth and gums, looking for issues with your child's bite, and making sure all of their teeth are in the proper position in their jaw. If your child has cleft lip or signs or bottle tooth decay then they will do x-rays at any age.

Whether your child is an infant or an older child, their first visit to the dentist, such as at Rupp and Grabowski Family Dentistry, can cause anxiety. Knowing what to expect will help both you and your child to feel more comfortable and to trust the dentist more so he or she is able to better do their job and provide the proper dental care for your child.