How To Prepare Your Children For Their First Dental Appointment

pediatric dentistry new yorkBy 2 1/2 yrs. old most children have all of their baby teeth, so toddler hood is a great time to instil good oral hygiene habits. Sure, those baby teeth don’t hang around forever, but it’s still important to keep those tiny teeth and gums in tip top shape while they’re saving the spots for the grownup teeth. I would definitely recommend to take your child to a pediatric dentist – someone who has additional training in caring for children’s oral health.

Another bonus is that a pediatric dentist is prepared to deal with any squirming in the dental chair. Most pediatric offices have their waiting rooms/operatories decorated kid friendly and have many activities for the kids to look at and participate in. Before you assume that getting your toddler into the dentist’s chair will involve either a tantrum or bribery, remember that your child doesn’t harbor any bad feelings toward the dentist. So, try and keep your own negative feelings in check (if you have any) and let your child enjoy his/her first dental visit with the same enthusiasm as a visit to Grandma’s house (without grandma’s yummy cookies, of course).

What To Expect At The First Visit

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child to see the dentist by the age of one or within six months of the first tooth erupting. Usually the first dental appointment is informal and short.

It’s more of a meet and greet for your child to see the office and meet the dental team/dentist. Depending on your child’s age and comfort level, you may be asked to hold him/her while the dentist looks around their mouth.

The dentist at the time will be checking your child’s teeth for any possible decay (cavities), examine your child’s gums, jaw, and bite. Depending on the age of your child and how well they sit in the chair, the dentist or hygienist may clean your child’s teeth and apply fluoride if needed. The dentist or hygienist will talk to you and your child about how important it is for good oral hygiene habits and give you a chance to ask any questions you may have about your child’s teeth. You may want to bring a list of questions with you so that you remember them.

Based on how your toddler’s teeth look, your dentist will let you know when to make the next visit. Most Dentists recommend that toddlers should be seen every 6 months as long as there are no major problems.

Mouth Guards

We all know that sports are a great potential outlet for kids. They promote physical fitness and provide the opportunity to exercise social skills. As parents, we encourage our children to play sports and to play them safely, but even when caution is used, sports related activities can cause numerous injuries to the mouth and teeth.

Dental or facial injuries can be expensive, painful and extremely traumatic for children and teens.

Sports are more intense and committed than the traditional “street ball” or neighborhood baseball game. It is common to wear mouth guards in martial arts, boxing, hockey, and football – long gone are the days when children played sports without facial protection.

With the attention on and new information about concussion and brain health and safety, wearing personal head and face protection is more important than ever before.

Boil and bite sports guards are found in the local drug stores but provide little to no protection for the teeth. A custom mouth guard can be made by the dentist to ensure that the appliance fi ts perfectly to your child’s teeth and protect them from injury.

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