Children's Dental Articles
Preparing for the Big Day - Your Child's First Dental Visit
When Amy turned three, she went for her first dental visit. "I had taken Amy to see her pediatrician for her annual checkup and asked the doctor if it was time for her to see a dentist," recalls Amy's mother Sarah. "I told him how afraid I was of the dentist and didn't want my children to be afraid, too". "That's when the doctor recommended that we see a Pediatric Dentist such as, Dr. Meier at Children's Dental Centre."
Your child's first set of teeth, the primary teeth, are extremely important. Strong, healthy primary teeth help your child chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and help guide the proper eruption of the permanent teeth. But when should you bring your child for their first dental visit? The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends scheduling a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth, around the child's first birthday.
"The median age for first visits is about two-and-one-half years old, but I really like to see kids by age one," says Winnipeg Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Dean Meier. "The sooner your child visits the dentist, the better chance we have to prevent problems".
"That first visit is important because we will examine the baby's mouth, teeth, and gums". "We also teach the parent about cleaning, diet, and evaluate any adverse habits, such as thumb sucking or pacifier use." "The first appointment is as much for the parents as it is for the child," says Dr. Meier. "It helps parents know what to expect and begins familiarizing the child with dental care and visiting our practice."
"It's important for parents to make dental visits for their children as enjoyable as possible", Dr. Meier adds. "Try to prevent anyone from telling your child scary stories about dental visits or let the child know you feel any anxiety about going to the dentist." "Also don't wait for an emergency for the first visit." "Tell your child that we will 'count' and 'take pictures' of their teeth." "It is also important to try to avoid using words that may create fear in your child such as hurt, shot, drill, or needle." Stress to your child how important it is to maintain healthy teeth and gums, and explain that the dentist's job is to help you and your child do this.
By starting dental visits at an early age and helping your child establish good oral health habits, you can put your child on the path to a lifetime of strong and healthy teeth and gums.
Published in Winnipeg Parent Magazine