Having a child begins a series of firsts. There will be their first haircut, the first time they speak and the first time they walk—and before you know it, it will be time for their first day of school. But what about their very first visit to the dentist? What is the best time for this to happen, and how can you ensure that the experience runs as smoothly as possible for your child?
The Best Time
There are several opinions as to the optimal time for your child's first visit to the dentist. Over in the USA, the American Association of Pediatric Dentists suggests that it should occur after the eruption of your child's first tooth, and no later than their first birthday. If in doubt, ask your family doctor about the best time to make that first dental appointment. Even though only one or two teeth might have grown, your chosen dentist will want to ensure that they have come in correctly. It's also a great habit to form early, allowing your child to become used to their dental check ups, hopefully alleviating any later dislike of a dental appointment. After looking at the progress of your child's teeth, your dentist will then be able to determine a schedule for your child's future check ups.
The First Time
Though thorough, the first dental visit might be brief, as your child simply doesn't have that many teeth to examine yet. The state of these first teeth will be examined, as will the health of your child's gums. This is also your opportunity to ask about the best oral hygiene routine for your child, such as when to start them with toothpaste and the most appropriate size and firmness when it comes to their toothbrush.
While it's all relatively straightforward, there is the possibility that your child will become distressed. So what can you do to overcome this?
You could consider arriving early to your appointment to allow your child to become used to their surroundings.
Some of their favourite toys could be a helpful distraction, and you might want to give your child a small (tooth friendly) treat after their appointment.
In the case of babies and very small children, it might be possible for them to sit on your lap while the dentist examines them.
In a world of firsts, your child's first dental appointment should go as smoothly as possible.