At a first meeting, the dentist will examine the child’s teeth, check for the first signs of decay or gum disease and discuss oral hygiene with him. The dentist Andra Custura gives us useful advice so that the first visit to the dentist is a successful one.
Oral hygiene rules should be explained early
The Romanian College of Dentists recommends that babies see a dentist within six months of the first tooth appearing or until one year of age, whichever comes first.
“A lot of parents are surprised when they hear that they have to go to the dentist with their child so early, but baby teeth last in some cases, up to 12 or 13 years, so good oral habits must be established as early as possible” , explained Dr. Andra Custura, dentist at the Andra Smile clinic.
An early visit gives the dentist the opportunity to teach parents and children how to properly brush their teeth and how to choose good foods for oral health. Children who start going to the dentist as early as possible are much more likely to avoid future dental problems.
Examine the child at home
The child will feel much more comfortable having his teeth examined at a dental office if he has already experienced this at home. Take the time to observe your teeth, gums and tongue regularly.
“This can be difficult with a baby, but try using the knee-on-knee technique: stand face-to-face with another adult with your knees touching, and place the baby on the other person’s lap for easier access to their mouth . At this age, even if he has no teeth, you should gently wipe his gums with a clean, wet compress after meals. You can also stimulate the mouth with a small, soft brush. All these activities will prepare him for a professional consultation”, adds the dentist.
Set the visit to the doctor at a good time for the little one
Make sure that the child’s dentist appointments are scheduled at a suitable time, when the child is rested and in a good mood.
“Kids have periods of good behavior or moodiness at different times of the day, so you wouldn’t want to bring him in when he’s hungry or tired. For obvious reasons, avoid giving him sugar before the visit. And if you can, it would be good to arrive a little earlier, to allow the child to play in the waiting room and learn about the environment”, adds doctor Andra Custura.
Try and have an optimistic attitude
It doesn’t have to be very positive, but keep an upbeat attitude when talking about the dentist on the day of the visit. Treat the meeting as something simple, routine and positive.
“If you do this, your child will have a much more detached attitude towards the dentist and the whole dental experience,” says Dr. Custura. For added comfort, you can bring him his favorite toy.
TIP: Before the first appointment at the dentist, talk to the child and explain what to expect in words that he understands and that do not scare him. Play “at the dentist” with a stuffed animal or a doll and read the child positive stories about the dentist appointment.