There are many important milestones your child will achieve as they grow up – their first steps, their first words, and their first trip to the dentist. A child’s first experience with the dentist can affect his or her attitude towards oral hygiene and their behavior at future dental appointments.
At Plancich Dental, our friendly and compassionate staff are committed to providing your family a positive first dental experience with exceptional old-fashioned care and service. We offer a calm and comfortable environment designed to put families at ease, especially young children who may feel anxious about their first visit.
New parents will often ask us the question, “When should I bring my child in for their first visit?” The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that your child visits the dentist by their first birthday or within six months after the first tooth erupts. An early first visit to the dentist is key to preventing cavities and other dental issues, along with giving new parents the opportunity to learn how to best care for their child’s teeth.
Your child’s first dentist visit will typically be short and informative, lasting between 15 to 30 minutes. Dr. Plancich will gently examine your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw to monitor growth and check for any potential problems. He will show you and your child how to care for their developing teeth and offer advice about cavity prevention. Dr. Plancich will gently clean your child’s teeth and assess their need for fluoride. Your child’s first dentist visit provides you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding their oral health. Overall, the first visit is to help familiarize your child with our practice and the dental check-up experience.
We would like to share a few simple tips that you can do to maintain your child’s healthy teeth between dental visits:
1) Practice brushing at least once a day with your child to build the habit early. You can encourage the activity by allowing them to choose their own toothbrush with their favorite color or design, making sure it is appropriately kid-sized. When your child is three-years-old, you should introduce a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste on their brush.
2) After the primary teeth have grown in, prolonged pacifier or thumb sucking can lead to tooth misalignment or jaw deformation. If your child doesn’t cut the habit on their own, take the appropriate measures to encourage the behavior to stop. For example, we suggest using positive reinforcement or provide small rewards when he or she isn’t thumb sucking. Another method is to use gentle reminders to make your child aware of the behavior to encourage them to stop.
3) A proper and healthy diet is the best way to prevent tooth decay. Limit your child’s consumption of refined carbs, sugary snacks and drinks and be sure to brush their teeth after eating. Crunchy fresh fruits and veggies, such as apples and celery, are tooth-friendly snack options because they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to protect teeth and gums.
As a parent or caregiver, you hold the most important influence on your child’s life. Present your child’s first dental visit as a positive and fun experience that they can look forward to twice a year. To ensure your child has a beautiful, healthy smile throughout childhood, maintain proper at-home dental care and schedule an appointment at Plancich Dental every six months.