Your Child’s First Pediatric Dental Visit
Your child’s first visit to our Salem pediatric dentist is very important. It gives us a chance to establish trust and familiarity in the dental office. Before your child’s first pediatric dental visit with us, it is best to prepare them for what they should expect at the dentist. This includes practicing opening and closing the mouth at home and counting with them. Encourage them that the doctor will count their teeth, brush (tickle) their teeth, and maybe even take pictures!
The initial visit not only consists of teeth cleaning, but it heavily involves many other aspects including, but not limited to, oral hygiene instruction, mouth habits, and diet and nutrition.
First Pediatric Dental FAQs
- When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Visit?
- What Should I Expect at My Child’s First Visit?
- Should I Remain With My Child During Our Visit?
- How Should I Clean My Baby’s Teeth?
- When Should My Child Start Using Toothpaste?
- Can Thumb-Sucking Be Harmful for My Child’s Teeth?
- How Can I Help My Child Through the Teething Stage?
- When Will My Child’s First Teeth Start to Erupt?
When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Visit?
“First visit by first birthday”. The American Academy for Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a child visit a dentist by age one. This is typically within six months of when a child’s first tooth has erupted. This visit will establish a dental home for your child and, in case any emergency arises, your child can be seen sooner.
What Should I Expect at My Child’s First Visit?
Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Quynh Bui, understands that your child’s first dental appointment may be stressful for both you and your child. Dr. Bui intends for each child’s first visit to the dentist to be both fun and educational. This visit helps establish a “dental home” for your child and makes them comfortable with both her as a provider and being in a dental setting in general. We obtain a full medical and dental history for each child in order to provide the best care assessment.
The child’s teeth are counted, and the mouth is clinically examined for any decay or issues with oral development. Any dental instruments are introduced to the child in a playful, calm manner. A toothbrush is chosen, and brushing is practiced to better acclimate both the parent/guardian and child. It’s not uncommon for a child to smile and even giggle during a first visit! As a pediatric dentist and mother, herself, Dr. Bui is highly experienced with children, but a smiling and calm parent or guardian can help keep the child at ease.
How Should I Clean My Baby’s Teeth?
It is best to use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles, especially one that is particularly designed for infants. You should make a habit of brushing at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime. This will remove any plaque bacteria that can later lead to decay.
When Should My Child Start Using Toothpaste?
According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay is now one of the most common chronic diseases found in children. Due to this high rate of tooth decay, guidelines for the use of fluoridated toothpaste have changed. The current recommendation for using fluoride toothpaste in kids is to begin with a very small smear of toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.
Then around age 2, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to a “pea sized” amount. When children begin to brush for themselves, parents should supervise to be sure your child uses the correct amount of toothpaste.
Always make sure to have your children spit our and not swallow the excess toothpaste after brushing. For a visual of the appropriate amount of toothpaste for children, check out our Instagram post!
Can Thumb-Sucking Be Harmful for My Child’s Teeth?
If pacifier and thumb-sucking habits go on for an extended period of time, problems can arise such as crowded/crooked teeth or bite problems. If your child is still sucking their thumb by the time that the permanent teeth erupt, an orthodontic appliance may be recommended. Most children stop these habits in their own.
How Can I Help My Child Through the Teething Stage?
It is totally normal for the gums to become sore when the teeth are first erupting. Following the guidelines provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you should give your child a chilled – not frozen – teething ring or gently rub or massage the gums with a finger instead of using an over-the-counter teething gel to relieve any discomfort.
When Will My Child’s First Teeth Start to Erupt?
Around 6 months old, you should be on the lookout for their two lower front teeth, otherwise known as central incisors. Shortly after these, the two upper central incisors should erupt. The remainder of baby teeth should appear during the next 18-24 months, but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. All 20 baby teeth should be present by the time your child is 2-3 years old.
Should I Remain With My Child During Our Visit?
We welcome you to stay with your child for their initial visit and exam. For subsequent appointments, we recommend that you allow your child to join the doctor and Generally staff in the room for their dental visit. Generally, Dr. Bui is able to build a better rapport with a child when the parent is not in the room. If you desire, however, you may continue to remain with your child in the treatment room.