Parents often wonder when should take my child to the dentist. Should you wait until all the teeth have come in, or wait until the child has a problem? I say no. I encourage parents to bring the child to the dentist by age two, no later than three. Baby teeth, also called primary teeth are just as important as permanent teeth. The first visit is basically just to introduce the child to the dentist office and to establish a trust.
What the First Visit Accomplishes
• Allows the child to see the dental chair either with the parent holding them in their lap or the child sitting in the chair by themselves.
• The child will get to see some of the dental tools used, mirror and prophy angle.
• Allows the dentist to do a quick exam to check all the teeth for decay.
• The dentist can also check the child’s bite and gums.
• This visit will also allow the parent to ask any questions they may have about how to brush and what toothpaste to use and any other questions.
• The dentist can give information on what “Milk Bottle Caries” is so that parents can learn the harm of sleeping with a milk bottle at night.
• The dentist can also discuss the child’s diet, not to have too many sugars in it.
• The dentist can also check for problem habits developing such as thumb or finger sucking.
Tips for a Positive Dental Visit
• Schedule a morning appointment where the child is rested and more cooperative.
• Stay Positive! Don’t scare the child by telling horror stories about the dentist that you have heard.
• Never bribe your child to go to the dentist nor use it as a punishment or threat.
Make your child’s visit to the dentist an enjoyable outing. Teaching you child good oral hygiene habits early on can lead to a lifetime of good dental health. So protect your child’s teeth by starting dental checkups early. I hope this Tooth Talk has helped parents know the importance of starting the child early with going to the dentist.
If you have any questions please feel free to call or email me, Dr. Jacqueline Butler Mitchell, DDS, [email protected], Integrity Dental Care, PLLC, (615) 445-8700.