You are their mom, therefore you definitely know the moment when their first tooth popped in. Seeing your baby’s first smile is one of the most beautiful moments in your life as a mother, but once their teeth start growing, you should know that your range of responsibilities expands. You will have to prepare them for the moment when they will have to see a dentist, because the best way to keep their grin on their face is to have their teeth checked regularly. The Academy of Paediatric Dentistry states that you should take your little one to their first dental check when their first tooth appears, before they turn 1 year old.
Some parents have the misconception that it is too early for a dentist visit, but you should know that the earlier they get accustomed with these visits, the easier it will be for you to take them to the medical centre when they will experience an issue. It is essential a specialist to monitor the health state of their teeth, from the moment they come in. Even if you may find it hard to believe, since the moment their first teeth erupt they are at risk of developing cavities.
Many times, the mother is more anxious than the child is, because she does not know what to expect during the check. Considering that, the baby is too young to understand that they are going to the dentist; chances are they to be quite calm.
On their first visit, the dentist will make a review of your little one’s medical and dental history, and it will do their initial examination. After they will carefully examine the oral health of the baby, the dentist will discuss with you and they will inform you, if there are any findings that should concern you. Dental radiographs are taken only if the medical condition of the baby requires it. Also, you should not be surprised to see that the doctor will offer you some guidelines on how to care for the child’s oral hygiene, because many parents do not have knowledge.
During the first dentist visit, you will receive pieces of advice on how to prevent dental health issues. The dentist will offer you recommendations on the diet, fluoride, sealants and hygiene.
You have the role to make your baby feel comfortable with someone checking his or her teeth. You should start doing it at home, because they will later consider it something usual. Take some minutes to peer into your baby’s mouth regularly. To make this action easier, it is advisable to ask your husband or a friend or family member to help you. You should use the knee-to-knee technique, when the baby is laying in the other’s adult’s lap. Even if your baby does not have teeth yet, you should gently wipe their gums after their meals.
One of the best strategies to help your baby get familiar with the family dentist is to take them to your dental appointments. But, before doing it, you will have to decide if you and your baby will share the same dentist, because the little one requires special needs and care. Some family dentists also have paediatric knowledge, and if this is the case, then there are no reasons to find another one. If you have to find a new doctor, you will have to consider multiple aspects, because you have to make sure that the child gets the best care. Check the family dentist’s office to see if it is kid-friendly.
When you schedule the dentist’s appointment make sure that the kid will be in a good mood and rested, because it is crucial for them to feel comfortable. You already know their pattern of good and cranky behaviour, so it is not difficult to decide when the best moment for this type of visit is. It is essential not to take the baby to the office when they are tired or hungry, because they will not be in the mood a stranger to check their mouth. Also, it is important the child to not receive sugar or caffeine before the visit, because they will be agitated.
It is recommended to arrive early at the dentist’s office, and to allow the little one play for some time with their toys in the waiting room, it will help them get familiar and comfortable with the environment.
If your child is older and they can understand what you are saying, then it is important to be over-the-top thrilled when you talk about the doctor, because it will help them feel more comfortable. You should treat the appointment, as it is one funny activity, they will have to do. It is part of their routine and it is something positive. The attitude the children have towards the dentist influences their mood. If they want to bring their favourite toy with them, they should be allowed, because it will help them get into a more positive state.
Some children are simply scared of the dentist, and whatever effort, you are making, they will probably be upset, every time you take them to the doctor’s office. In the majority of cases, this attitude fades with the time, because they get used to this activity. In case your child starts screaming when you get at the office, you should not force them to get on the chair. The dentist understands and they have dealt with this situation more times than you imagine. It is simply better to reschedule.
In case you want to take the little one to a dentist, but you have difficulties with your money, you should know that many doctors offer these services free. Check with your local dentist association and get a list with the paediatric dentists from your area.