Disclosure : Thank you to Wichita Pediatric Dentistry for sponsoring this post and providing quality dental services to our community of Wichita families!
Every first with every child is exciting and memorable. But some firsts come with the hanging fear of how our child might react. Not everyone gets the warm fuzzies when thinking about a trip to the dentist, so we’ve teamed up with Dr. Michael Iseman at Wichita Pediatric Dentistry to give you a peek at what to expect when it’s time to take your little one for his or her first dental exam.
When to Schedule a First Visit
According to American Dental Association, your child’s first trip to the dentist should be within the first 6 months after his or her first tooth eruption or by age one.
My husband recently came home with insurance enrollment paperwork and assumed we didn’t need to add our one year old to the dental policy this year because “she’s only one and only has a few teeth” (she actually has 12 teeth). We took our oldest daughter around 18 months, and I reminded him how well she does at the dentist because we started her at an early age. Besides, her big sister had her 6 month check up scheduled as well, so why not get them both in at once!
Why So Early?
- Prevention: Of course it makes sense, but I was quite surprised to learn that babies can get cavities. And I was
even more surprised to learn that our one year old had plaque buildup on her teeth even though we brush daily. Dr. Mike and his staff did a great job of showing me how to more effectively brush (with a feisty, squirmy toddler) and showed me the appropriate amount of toothpaste to use.
- Get Them Used to the Dentist: Can you imagine your child’s very first interaction with the dentist being in a state of emergency – like a cavity or an unfortunate playground incident? Taking them to the dentist at a young age gets the comfortable with the environment, the staff, getting their teeth cleaned, and having a stranger in their mouth. Our oldest daughter has always been incredibly cautious of strangers, but she’s comfortable as can be at Dr. Mike’s because she has been going since she was a baby. She knows the drill and actually prefers I stay with our younger daughter so she can showcase her independence.
- Establish a Dental Home: As with a pediatrician or general practice doctor, it’s much easier to work through a dental situation or crisis when you have a “dental home”. You have established relationships with the doctor and the staff, and everyone in your family knows what to do and can put your trust in your dental home.
- Parental Comfort: In many cases, it’s the parent that really needs the comforting. Kids are resilient and trusting (especially when toys and prizes are involved), but it’s the parents who need to feel a bit more comfortable in a new situation with our children. Taking your child to the dentist at an early age helps gain a better understanding of what to expect and how to provide the best dental care for your child.
What to Expect
A first dental visit is truly about getting your child used to the experience. At Wichita Pediatric Dentistry, you receive a tour, meet the staff, and sit down with Dr. Mike for a consultation on how to most effectively care for your little one’s teeth. He showed me how much toothpaste to use and how to to lay our one year old down in my lap or on the bed to have better control (even if she isn’t a fan at first). He ensured me that bloody gums and a major meltdown on a first visit are indeed normal, and he didn’t chastise me for still allowing our 16 month old a pacifier at bedtime. And no one judged the fact that she took her shoes off in the lobby and refused to put them back on, or that she walked straight to the toy room even though it was time for her checkup. Dr. Mike and his staff do a great job of letting the child set the tone and making their comfort first priority.