Importance of a Child’s First Dental Visit

Grand Rapids Pediatric Dentists

Why the First Visit Is Most Important

Dental fear and anxiety usually begin during childhood and tend to worsen with time if not taken care of. This is why a child’s first dental visit is so important. It paves the way for how your child will feel towards dentist appointments all throughout their life. Not only does your child’s first dentist appointment set the stage for future visits, but it also sets the stage for your child’s oral hygiene habits from an early age. Tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness, so starting dental checkups for your child early on is crucial for preventing cavities and tooth decay.

When Should You Bring Your Child

As soon as your child’s first tooth comes in – around age one –is typically the time you should start taking them to the dentist. If you decide to put off their appointment, it is likely that their oral health will suffer. In fact, 25% of children have at least one cavity by the time they turn four. Taking your child to their first dental visit at an early age will create good dental habits and ensure they have healthy teeth and gums so they can chew and speak comfortably.

Preparing for the First Visit

You want to make sure your child feels as comfortable and safe as possible. The best way to do this is to remain calm yourself and avoid using any words that may frighten your child. It’s important that you set an example for your child and act relaxed and even excited about going to the dentist. They will pick up on your positive outlook of the dentist and probably react similarly.

Be sure to choose a pediatric practice with at least two years of specialized training for treating children. Going to a dentist that isn’t good with kids can end poorly and result in your child developing a negative connotation with the dentist. It’s best to get to know your child’s dentist beforehand to get a feel for whether or not they would be a good fit for you and your child.

What to Expect

The first appointment shouldn’t be too elaborate; rather the focus is more on introducing your child to what the dentist is all about. The dentist will discuss the importance of oral hygiene to your child in hopes of creating good dental habits. And if you and the dentist both feel that your child is comfortable and ready, the dentist will do an oral exam and possibly take x-rays.

Many children fear the dentist because of a bad first visit. The first dental visit will have a huge impact on how your child feels about the dentist, so it’s important to be prepared and take the necessary steps to have a successful first appointment. By following the advice above, you’ll be on your way to having a stress-free first dental visit with your child.

If you are looking for help in making your child’s first dental visit a positive one, contact our Grand Rapids pediatric dentist at (616) 942-9840.