AN emergency with a tooth being knocked out is the first time many children will see the dentist, but this should not be the norm. In fact, baby's first dentist visit should happen earlier — sometimes even before the first tooth shows.
Here are some tips for that milestone.
1. It is recommended that the first dentist visit for children take place as soon as the first teeth erupt. This first visit will be mainly informative in nature and will be used to establish proper oral care routines and guidelines that can last a lifetime.
2. Make sure that you find a paediatric dentist, or a family dentist who is good with children. This is extremely important because many people fear the dentist, and so someone with good bedside manners will put the child at ease. You may want to ask friends and family members for referrals.
3. Prepare in advance. Ensure that your child is well rested and not hungry around the time of the appointment. Write down a list of questions ahead of time to ask the dentist. You may not be able to prepare your younger child, but discuss the visit with an older child. If there is any anxiety, you can try to allay these fears by reading books about dentists or by watching television shows to help them visualise what the visit will be like.
4. During the first visit, the dentist will be educating you, the parent, on proper gum and tooth care for your child. They will also discuss pacifier use and proper nutrition to help maintain healthy teeth.
The dentist will also demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss.
5. By establishing a good working relationship with the dentist you will ensure that your child builds this good relationship from an early age. When you set this precedent you guarantee that your child will become accustomed to a proper oral care routine.
You may wonder why you need to worry about baby teeth when they will be replaced by adult teeth anyway, right? But tooth decay can happen as soon as your child's first tooth erupts. Decay in baby teeth means a higher risk of decay in permanent teeth, and this can harm a child's overall health. At this stage you can also discuss sealants and other preventative care with your child's dentist to prevent expensive problems in the future.