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Your baby’s first dentist visit can be nerve-wracking for the parents and foreign experience for the child.
When our pediatrician suggested that Graci should go to the dentist at her 18 month appointment, but I was definitely nervous for the big day. So, this post was created to give you as much information as possible and give you an idea of what we experienced at our first dentist visit!
Please note that this blog post is NOT intended as dental advice. I am merely sharing what I have found in my research and my experience as a mom. Consult with a dental professional if you have any questions about your child’s dental hygiene.
So When Should You Schedule Your Baby’s First Dentist Visit?
According to the American Dental Association, you should be getting your child in for their first appointment after their first tooth appears, but before their first birthday. (Source)
That said, our pediatrician didn’t suggest scheduling a dental appointment until Graci’s 18-month check-up and the dentist that we visited said that they like to see toddlers between 12 and 24 months.
If you have any questions about when your child is ready for the dentist, definitely ask your pediatrician and/or a pediatric dentist.
What Can You Expect At The First Visit?
I was worried that a trip to the dentist was going to be traumatizing for Graci. After all, I absolutely HATE going to the dentist, though I try my hardest to not let my fear rub off on her.
In my mind, I thought that the dentist would try and be as thorough as they are with adults and that it would literally be a struggle to get the dentist to be able to see inside my daughter’s mouth.
However, in reality, your baby’s first dental visit will likely be a lot more laid back.
Dentists who see young children are prepared for a difficult first visit. Our dentist specializes in pediatric dentistry and as such, she knew what Graci may or may not be capable of doing at this appointment.
Their expectations aren’t as high when your child is so young.
Here is what happened at our baby’s first dentist visit:
At this visit, there was a lot of chat about our daily brushing habits, whether she took a sippy cup to bed at night, whether or not she used a pacifier or sucked her thumb. Then our dentist gave us advice for making sure that her mouth stays as healthy as possible.
In addition, our dentist performed an exam of Graci’s mouth and checked what teeth she currently had, which ones were coming in and talked to us about her general mouth health. (Graci absolutely hated this part of the visit.)
Our dentist opted not to give Graci a fluoride treatment at this appointment or do much cleaning (her teeth were still super clean). After this visit, our dentist asked that we bring Graci back every 6 months.
Advice For Your Baby’s First Dental Visit From A Fellow Mom
Before Graci’s dental appointment, we had been working on brushing at home. We have really been trying to make it a fun experience for her by brushing with her. (It was great that she was able to show the dental staff how to brush their stuffed dinosaur’s teeth.)
Plus, when they showed her the toothbrush they wanted to use on her teeth, it didn’t scare her. (Though I’m not sure she really let them get much brushing done!)
Besides practicing brushing at home, another piece of advice is to bring distractions. Inevitably, there is going to be a wait while at the dentist. Bringing distractions will help you both manage the wait.
And my biggest piece of advice?
Go to a dentist office that caters to children. You’ll be so glad that you did. The staff will be prepared to make your child comfortable and the setting will be more kid-friendly.
At the dental office that we chose for Graci, they have the entire office themed out with bears (including bear heads who look like they have popped through the exam room walls), the waiting room has toys, a tv and video games, and each exam room has a television above the chair. All of these extras go a long way in making the dentist a fun place for your child to go.
What did you experience at your baby’s first dentist visit? Was it as stressful as you thought it would be?