Kids’ First Dental Visit: Pediatric Dentistry FAQs

pediatric dentistry Gilroy, CA

The field of pediatric dentistry focuses primarily on the oral health of children and adolescents. Some parents choose a pediatric dentist for the children, while others take the children to a dentist already known to the family. When choosing a dentist to treat a child, the most important consideration is that the professional has experience treating patients at that age.

What should parents know before taking a child to the dentist?

Parents planning to take a child to the dentist for the first time may have a lot of questions. Here are a few that tend to come up most often.

1. Is it necessary to take the child to a pediatric dentist?

Most dentists have some experience treating young children, even if not trained specifically in pediatric dentistry. However, if the family dentist is not comfortable treating children or the child is very young or has special needs, a pediatric dentist may be helpful.

2. When should a child first visit the dentist?

A child should first see a dentist before the age of one at the very latest. However, it is appropriate for a child to visit the dentist as soon as the first teeth erupt.

3. How should parents get ready for the visit?

Parents should be prepared to share the child's entire medical history with the dentist. This may involve obtaining doctor records, if necessary. Parents should also prepare to ask the dentist any questions about the child's oral habits, such as thumb sucking or pacifier use.

4. How should parents prepare their children for the visit?

Parents should explain to children in age-appropriate terms who a dentist is and what a dentist does. It may be helpful to read a child picture books about the dentist and entertain any questions that the child has. Parents should try to maintain a positive attitude about the dentist because the child will likely pick up on that and emulate it. If one parent has anxiety about the dentist, it may be better for the other parent to handle the office visit and the preparation beforehand.

5. What happens at the first office visit?

The main goal is for the dentist and the child to become acquainted and start building a rapport. Because a child may be very young at the first dental visit, X-rays are only performed if necessary. Otherwise, the dentist will primarily evaluate the child's bite and check for any decay.

Some dentists may ask the parent to wait in the reception area for at least a portion of the visit. Other dentists will allow the parent to stay by the chair, and some may even ask the parent to sit in the dentist's chair with the child in their lap. It depends on the child's age and comfort level. The parent will have the opportunity to learn how to perform dental hygiene on the child correctly and have the chance to ask questions.

Conclusion

Children should see the dentist by their first birthdays. Someone trained in pediatric dentistry may be helpful. Parents can help make the experience positive by preparing the children beforehand and quelling their own anxieties.

Request an appointment here: https://www.gilroydentalassociates.com or call Gilroy Dental Associates at (408) 842-2818 for an appointment in our Gilroy office.

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