As a parent, you have countless new responsibilities and unsurprisingly, you may feel a little overwhelmed. Those tasks relating to the health and happiness of your child are undoubtedly the biggest priorities, and something that you should make time to do is to take your child to visit your dentist.
Regular dental visits are something that many of us overlook for ourselves, and consequently, our children. Some of us may actively avoid them due to anxiety of fear, and others may simply struggle to make time in our busy schedules. Nevertheless, regardless of our own concerns about the dentist, preparing your child for regular visits to a dental professional should be an immediate priority as it will support their long-term oral and general health. Studies have found that children who attended regular dental check-ups are less likely to go on to develop issues relating to their teeth in the future.
When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) makes the recommendation that a child starts visiting their dentist by the age of 1, or within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth. This may seem fairly early, but there are several reasons why early visits are important. Firstly, it gets your child used to see their dentist from an early age. Your little one will understand the sights, sounds, and smells of your dental office and get to know the staff who work there. This helps them to feel relaxed, calm and happy and as they get older, they will know what to expect from their visits.
Secondly, the earlier your child starts to see your dentist, the more likely they are to enjoy good oral health during their childhood and into adolescence. This is because they will be educated on the importance of taking care of their teeth, will learn the right brushing techniques and any developing problems will be identified quickly and before they can have a considerable impact on the health of your child’s teeth.
What to Expect From a Pediatric Dental Appointment?
Exactly what you can expect from your child’s pediatric dental appointment will primarily depend on their age. When your little one is still an infant, they will likely be able to remain in their stroller or on your lap to have their teeth checked. However, once they reach toddler age, it is a good idea to get them used to sitting in the chair and opening their mouth wide for dental checks.
Many parents opt for their child to undergo an elective dental treatment that is known as sealant placement. This is when a special plastic seal is placed over the molars and pre-molars to add another layer of protection to the teeth. Other parents may consider another elective treatment that involves painting fluoride varnish over the teeth to strengthen the enamel. Both of these are popular choices of adults hoping to help their child to maintain a healthy smile for as long as possible.
Tips to Help your Child to Overcome their Fear of the Dentist
Visiting the dental certainly doesn’t have to be scary. Hopefully, if you have started taking your child to the dentist from a young age, they will not have developed any anxiety or fear about their visits. However, if they do seem worried, there are a few things that you can do to help alleviate their concerns. These include:
Preparing them what to expect in advance
Making sure that your dentist is aware that the child is nervous, anxious and/or scared.
Use positive reinforcement
Engaging your child in conversation
Choose a family dentistry practice that has the equipment to distract your child
If your child is extremely anxious, it may be possible for them to have their dental check-up using sedation. This is where medications are used to help your child feel calm and relaxed for the duration of their appointment.
If you would like more advice on the best way to prepare your child for the dentist, our compassionate dental team would be happy to help. Please contact Boss Dental Care in Corpus Christi, TX to schedule an appointment.