Taking your child to the dentist is an essential step toward maintaining their overall health. While the first visit may make them feel a bit anxious, you can take steps to prepare them for a comfortable experience.
Our experienced team of dentists at Swinney Dental in Tyler, Texas, is pleased to provide child-friendly pediatric care for kids of all ages.
Here’s a closer look at children’s dental visits, including tips for getting your little one ready for their first.
Timing your child’s first dental visit
You should bring your child in for a dental exam within 6 months of their first tooth breaking through or by age one. The first exam provides a baseline of your child’s dental health. It also allows us to make sure that emerging teeth are on the right track.
From there, your child should begin coming in for routine dental visits just after their third birthday. Our team may recommend exams before then if issues are detected at their first appointment.
It’s important to note, however, that it’s never too late for a first dental visit. If your child is older than one year, schedule their first exam as soon as possible.
What to expect at their first visit
Your child’s first dental visit will likely last 30-45 minutes. Depending on their age, the visit might include a full exam of their bite, gums, teeth, and oral tissue. Examining the gum tissues helps us check for normal development.
In some cases, our team will provide a very gentle cleaning. Your child won’t likely have X-rays done unless an issue like decay is suspected.
After the exam, our team may talk to you about:
- Baby bottle tooth decay
- Finger-sucking habits
- Infant feeding practices
- Mouth cleaning
- Pacifier habits
We’ll walk you through healthy habits to keep your child’s dental care moving in the right direction.
Preparing your child for their first visit
To help your child feel at ease and have a positive first dental visit, we recommend these tips:
- Read them a book about going to the dentist
- Come in for a short tour of the office before your visit
- Explain the basic steps of a dental visit
- Tell them about your own positive experiences at the dentist
- Compare the visit to their first haircut or doctor’s exam
You can also let them know that going to the dentist regularly helps prevent tooth issues later on and that healthy teeth and gums are a part of their overall wellness.
You may also want to reward them for a visit well-done. You could take them to their favorite park afterward, for example, or let them choose a fun new toothbrush.
To learn more about pediatric dental care, call our dental team at Swinney Dental. You can also schedule an appointment using the convenient online booking feature on our website.