The goal of your baby’s first visit to the dentist is to give him or her a chance to get to know the dentist and dental office in a friendly, unthreatening way, and so your dentist will likely try to keep the visit very simple.
Although busy, working parents might sometimes have a grandparent or babysitter take a child to the doctor or dentist, It is important, at least for the first dental visit, that a parent or legal guardian be present, because he will be asked to fill out health-information forms about the child, discuss general health issues, and advise the dentist if the child has any specific medical condition or problem.
During the exam, the dentist’s movements will be slow and gentle, and he or she will speak to the child in a low, calm voice. Most dentists who are comfortable working with young children are able to handle all types of youngsters in a friendly, patient, and understanding way.
During this visit, the dentist will:
- Thoroughly examine your child’s teeth for tooth decay,
- Examine your child’s gums and soft tissue for disease or problems,
- Evaluate your child’s bite,
- Evaluate your child’s dental-eruption pattern and Identify any potential problems,
- Identify and talk about any habits that might be damaging to existing or future teeth,
- Talk about diet and nutrition needs for healthier and stronger teeth,
- Show the parent proper methods for cleaning the child’s gums and teeth at home,
- Talk about your child’s fluoride requirements, and
- Answer your questions or concerns.
If the child seems to be enjoying the first visit, then he or she may also get his teeth cleaned and polished, and have fluoride applied to his teeth. If the child seems apprehensive, the dentist might want to proceed with the examination with the parent holding the child in his lap or sits next to him, but often, a child behaves better if his parent is not present in the treatment room, and so you might also be asked to wait outside the treatment room.
A baby’s first visit to the dentist should be a fun experience for both child and parent. Remember, your child will take his cue from you. The most helpful thing you can do to help your child stay calm is for you to relax and stay calm yourself. Be prepared to ask a lot of questions. If you take your camera along, you’ll get some candid shots both you and your child will enjoy in the years to come!