When do I bring my child?
We frequently are asked the question “When should I bring my child in to see the dentist for the very first time?” We encourage a child’s first dental visit between one and two years of age. We find this timing is in the child’s and caregiver’s best interest.
Primary Focus of First Visit
When a young child comes to see us for the very first time our primary focus is on providing a great dental experience. We will evaluate for the presence (or absence) of teeth during a dental exam, remove plaque/calculus on their teeth, and apply a fluoride varnish, which strengthens the enamel surface. If the child has neighboring teeth that touch, dental radiographs will be taken to evaluate for cavities between the teeth.
Education & Prevention
During this visit, your dentist will talk with the caregiver about a child’s medications such as inhalers, antibiotics, and pain medication. We like to take this opportunity to inform caregivers that liquid medications contain sugar which tastes good. We encourage caregivers to be sure to brush their child’s teeth after administration of any medications. In addition, some inhalers cause thrush (oral candidiasis) and a child should brush after using an inhaler to minimize the risk of yeast overgrowth.
Food and Drinks
Your dental providers will also talk about foods and drinks. Some food items have positive effects on oral health, while other food items are better avoided. We encourage caregivers to serve water and milk exclusively, and avoid all sodas and juices because they contain both sugar and acid. Water is the best choice for teeth.
We recommend avoiding chewy, retentive foods. These food particles can become embedded in the tooth surface and are difficult to remove because of their sticky nature. Examples include raisins, fruit snacks and fruit roll ups, and caramels. We recommend avoiding sour or acidic sweets: candies, powders, and chewing gums. The high acid content damages tooth enamel and bacteria thrive on the sugar.
Home Care Routine
We know all children enjoy treats, many adults do too; it’s what you do after that counts! Drinking water after these helps and keeping a good home care routine is essential. We recommend brushing your child’s teeth two times a day for two minutes and flossing daily. The best time to do this is after breakfast and before bedtime.
Tips for A Successful Visit
Here are some tips to help you create a success story for this first dental visit.
- Prepare your child by speaking in an upbeat and positive way. If you have a family member who prefers to not see the dentist, please avoid sharing any unfavorable stories.
- Prior to their first visit, read stories about going to the dentist. The Miles City Public Library and your local dental office often have child-friendly books about going to the dentist for the first time.
- Schedule your child’s dental visit during their best time of day, avoiding nap time or snack time.
- Children love to model each other’s behavior. Let the younger child watch at an older sibling’s appointment.
- Prior to their first visit, feel free to ask for a tour of the dental office. Taking away the “unknown” helps remove some apprehension. We are even happy to give them demonstrations of how our equipment functions.
- Congratulate your child on a job well done! We are happy to reward your child for successful visits too!
We look forward to treating your children and your entire family. We regularly see patients that range from one to 101. Call us today at (406) 234-2926 to see how we can help you create success stories!