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When should I schedule my child’s first dental appointment? As soon as a child’s teeth begin to erupt, they should start seeing a dentist. The goal is to bring your child early so that he/she gets accustomed to the environment and learns what to expect at the office and during a check-up. It is also important to bring children early so that they can be evaluated for common dental issues such as baby bottle tooth decay and any problems with their bite for early intervention if necessary. kidssmile-207x300

What can we expect at our child’s first dental appointment? The first visit is all about getting acclimated to the dental office. Even if we only get as far as having the child sit in the chair and allow me to look with a mirror, it’s still considered a successful visit. If you start your child at the right age and are performing proper home care, usually they will not need anything other than a routine cleaning and exam. The first dental visit will include a cleaning and dental exam. X-rays typically are not taken until the age of 5 or 6 once the child begins to have eruption of their permanent teeth. It is important to bring your child in every 6 months. This will help prevent future tooth decay but also hopefully get your child so comfortable with the dentist that they are actually excited to visit for their cleanings.

How can I ease my child’s anxiety of visiting the dentist?

It helps if a parent brings the child to one of their own cleanings prior to the child’s, so that he/she knows what to expect and can see the parent comfortable and at ease. A parent should never use going to the dentist as a punishment (i.e. “If you don’t brush your teeth you’re going to go to the dentist and they’re going to give you a shot”). Most importantly, be a good example. Children’s fear of the dentist is often a learned one. If you show you are afraid and anxious, it is likely that they will be afraid and anxious.

How do I choose a dentist that’s right for my child?

When evaluating dentists, you want to find one who regularly treats children. Besides their dental ability, it is equally important to find someone who your child will be comfortable with. The way your child perceives their dentist and dental visit, often sets the tone for how they feel about the dentist as an adult. Therefore it is very important that you find the right doctor for your child. Often, a parent will find a dentist who they themselves are comfortable with and who also regularly treats children in their practice.]]>

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