Dental Care: Baby’s First Appointment to the Dentist

The parent should preferably have taken the child a few times as an accompanying visitor while having his or her own dentistry. The dental staff will thus make friends with the child who will be shown around. Whether the child will be seen by the parent’s dentist or not when the first ‘real’ appointment is made, the secretary should be told that this will be the child’s first dental appointment. Any other information regarding health, emotional problems, etc., should be is important to inquire whether the practice is a preventive one. It is likely to be so, but this was not the case up to ten years ago. If the practice is not heavily committed to the preventive approach, look for one that is.

Having made the appointment and before you go, tell your child about it without any anxieties. Let him know that the dentist is a friend who will help him to stay healthy and have beautiful teeth. The essence of success is to make the coming visit seem like an exciting adventure.

The Pattern of the First Visit

The first objective of the dentist or hygienist will be to make the visit a pleasant one and a great effort will be made to gain the child’s confidence and trust. To start with, it may be possible to take X-rays if these are thought necessary. The panoramic X-ray film which is sometimes used show all the teeth present and those still developing beneath the gums, and nothing is placed in the mouth. The X-ray radiating for panoramic films is very low. Such a film will show how the bones and teeth are growing.

The dental team will suggest to the parents, that they too are part of ‘the preventive team’, and ways of preserving the child’s dental health with a proper diet and the use of fluoride will be discussed. The way in which the teeth should be cleaned by the parent, and possibly the child, will be demonstrated. The mouth will be examined to make sure that everything is healthy, and any beginnings of decay will be noted and discussed and treatment will be arranged.

For a good start in dental life for your child :

1. Make the visits a fun trip.

2. Do not bribe your child to attend, or threaten the visit as a punishment.

3. Do not appear to be anxious about the visit yourself, and never say, ‘it will not hurt’. That is the worst possible approach,

4. Do not wait until your child has toothache before taking him or her to the dentist.

5. Do not allow others to relate ‘horror’ stories to your child. After the first visit be prepared, depending on the dentist’s or hygienist’s instructions, to allow your child to enter the treatment room alone. Remember that treatment of the first (primary) teeth is important: to enable your child to chew satisfactorily; to keep the space for the permanent teeth waiting to come through from underneath; and to help speech.

6. Avoid tetracycline antibiotics for the infant, if possible. Otherwise teeth might become discolored.

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