Importance of a Child’s First Dental Visit

Grand Rapids Emergency Dentist

As a parent, you want to make sure you set up your child to have healthy teeth. However, it can be difficult for first-time parents to know when to schedule their child’s first dental appointment. As soon as the first baby toothcomes in (usually around age 1), you should have your child seen by an experienced Grand Rapids pediatric dentist. Not only will they make sure your child has healthy teeth, but they can also answer any questions you might have about how to care for your child’s teeth.

In this blog post, we will go over why the first visit to the dentist’s office is so important and how to prepare your child so they have a good experience.

Why the First Visit Is Most Important

In order to help your child start good oral health habits, it’s important that they feel comfortable going to the dentist. It isn’t uncommon for children (or even adults) to feel some anxiety when visiting the dentist. However, as the parent, you have some control over helping your child overcome these fears at an early age.

Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood illness? This is why it’s important to get your child in to see pediatric dentists so that any minor cavities can be dealt with as soon as possible. Pediatric dentistry is geared toward preventing cavities and tooth decay in growing mouths.

When Should You Bring Your Child

You should schedule your child’s first dental visit once the first tooth has come through the gum line, usually around age 1. Since 25% of children have at least one cavity before the age of 4, we don’t recommend putting off their appointment with a professional pediatric dentist. To ensure your child will be able to enjoy a healthy smile and set the foundation for good oral hygiene habits, you’ll need to have them visit the dentist at an early age. A dentist will also be able to make sure your child is able to chew and speak properly.

Preparing for the First Visit

You know your child best, which is why it’s important to mentally prepare them before seeing the dentist for the first time. Make sure you explain what they can expect during the first visit in a language that is easy to understand. Try to stay away from language that invokes fear, such as “pain”, “drilling”, or “decay”. The more you frame the visit as a positive experience, the less anxious your child will be. Your child will pick up on your emotions, so it’s important to be calm or even excited about the upcoming dental appointment.

When looking for a dentist for your child, be sure to pick someone who has experience working with kids. Going to a dentist that isn’t good with kids could result in your child forming a negative perception of the dentist.

What to Expect

The focus of the first appointment will be to introduce your child to their new dentist and help them get familiar with their surroundings. If your child is up to it, your dentist might do an oral exam or even take x-rays. Otherwise, your child’s pediatric dentist will explain the importance of oral hygiene so that they can form good habits for the rest of their life.

If you are interested in our pediatric dentistry services, please feel free to call our Grand Rapids dental practice at (616) 363-5677. Dr. Samuel Spraggins DDS at River Valley Dental strives to help teach patients dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.