What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

kids dentsKnowing when to take a child to their first dentist appointment can be difficult. Pediatricians and dentists offer different advice on the matter. The dentist’s office can be a frightening place for toddlers; however, many pediatric dentists provide an atmosphere that is relaxing and playful to make the child feel more comfortable. Finding a kids dentist in Madison can be done easily by looking online, in the phonebook, or asking your regular dentist for their suggestion. 

As toddlers get older, they become increasingly more aware of their surrounds and most of all, stubborn. Trying to brush a 2 year old’s teeth can be a task that requires both parents to hold down the child while they quickly run the toothbrush across the teeth. Anybody can imagine how frightening this may be for a child; however, keeping the teeth clean and free of cavities will avoid decay and excess dental work. If the child is already defiant in allowing their parents to brush their teeth, chances are opening up for a dentist will not be an easy feat. The more the child fights the parents during brushing, the more likely they will need to see a dentist, as getting all the teeth clean while the child clenches their jaw can be nearly impossible. the benefit of pediatric dentists is that they are experienced in the difficulties of their field. This can provide the dentist with skills and “tricks” in getting children to feel comfortable, relaxed, and willing to let the dentist look at their teeth.

Many pediatric dentists implement similar techniques to make their patients feel more at ease. Generally, they will introduce themselves before asking the child to sit in the patient chair. Hopefully, a small amount of trust is established during the “meet-and-greet” between the child and the dentist. The dentist may use over-sized “props” to show the child what they are about to do. These props may involve a large tooth, toothbrush, and puppets called “cavity creeps.” The dentist may then introduce all the tools and machines that they will use during the check-up. This should help the child become comfortable and less confused in their surroundings. After the check-up is successfully completed, the child will receive a fun and exciting prize. This can be the “reward” for being brave.

There are good habits that can be practiced at home to avoid dentist appointments outside of the twice-a-year check-ups. Weening the child off of bottles, pacifiers, and thumb sucking as early as possible can avoid teeth misalignment. Using a soft toothbrush made specifically for children can protect the child’s soft enamel. Brushing the child’s teeth twice a day should be done. Using a fluoride-free toothpaste or only using a small amount of regular toothpaste will protect your child from fluorosis, a condition of the teeth that occurs when too much fluoride is on the teeth. Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks will protect the child’s teeth from cavities. Brushing the teeth after any sugary snacks is beneficial. The avoidance of milk or juice in bed can protect your child from the sugar and bacteria that will harbor around their teeth and gums during sleep.

To find a kids dentist in Madison, ask friends and family members the dentist their children see. This will help the parents get a good idea on how the dentist does with other children and what to expect at the first appointment.

Posted in Dentist