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What To Expect On A Child"s First Dental Visit

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A trip to the dentist can be a scary experience for a child. But it doesn't have to be if you have a quality, skilled pediatric dentist that takes a personal interest in your child's oral health. A pediatric dentist is trained to interact with children and handle their specialized oral and dental needs. As such, your child's first visit to the dentist will be very different from an adult's visit to the dentist. This article will help you understand what to expect on your child's first dental visit so you can both be prepared.

Set The Right Expectations

Just because mom or dad is scared of the dentist, doesn't mean little Junior has to be as well! Remember that your child doesn't have any preconceived notions or unfounded fears of the dentist just yet, so try to keep it that way.

Talk to your child about the dentist, and if they're old enough, answer any questions they may have. Reinforce the value of proper oral hygiene and how a dentist can help. Get them excited about the trip and the neat things they'll see. And don't forget about the goodie-bags handed out at the end for patients who were on their best behavior.

The Atmosphere Of The Office

A dentist that specializes in pediatrics will have a very kid-friendly office atmosphere. The waiting room will be brightly decorated, and there will be kid sized furniture, books, toys, and children's television programming. The staff should be warm and friendly and able to interact well with children.

Beyond the waiting room, the examination area should also be very accommodating to children. You may notice the tools are smaller because a child's mouth is much smaller than an adult's mouth. Some dentists may keep the tools out of sight to reduce anxiety.

Examinations And Procedures

The American Dental Association recommends children begin regular trips to the dentist around their first birthday. Because young children can be frightened, agitated, and fussy, shorter and more frequent visits may be recommended to build up your child's trust and confidence in the dentist.

Your child's first visit will be more like an icebreaker. It's an opportunity for your child to interact with the dentist and get used to the office. If your child is cooperative, a very basic examination of the mouth, jaw, teeth, bite, and gums will occur. Depending on your child's size and comfort level, you may be asked to hold them in your lap during the examination.

If your child is older at their first visit, they may also receive a gentle cleaning, polishing, and a complete set of x-rays. The dentist may also show your child how to care for their teeth at home and answer any questions you or they have.

By setting proper expectations and finding a skilled pediatric dentist, your child's first trip to the dentist can be an easy and enjoyable experience.
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