Taking the Spookiness out of Your Toddler’s First Dental Visit - First Things First
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Here’s what to expect when visiting your pediatric dentist.

October is a month full of the ghosts, goblins and ghouls of Halloween. But for babies and toddlers, the first visit to a pediatric dentist shouldn’t be spooky in the least. In order to ease any fears (for them or you) read below to have a better idea of what you should expect from this initial visit.

First, it’s recommended that a baby see the dentist by their first birthday or within a few months of their first tooth breaking the surface. Many parents are unaware of this, so if you’ve missed that window it’s okay. However, there are several reasons for toddlers to begin seeing a pediatric dentist bi-annually. Healthy baby teeth help your child talk, eat and create strong, permanent teeth.

At your child’s first dental visit, you should expect to fill in some preliminary paperwork, including the history of your baby’s health. Once taken back to the colorful, child-friendly exam room, your dentist will do their best to make you and your little one as comfortable as possible.

Usually, the first visit lasts from 30 to 45 minutes. Based upon your child’s age, the initial appointment may include a full exam of teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues to evaluate growth and development. If deemed necessary, your child may also have a gentle cleaning if there are enough teeth to do so. This would include polishing their little teeth and removing any tartar, plaque and stains they’ve accumulated. The dentist will usually instruct you and your child of proper home cleaning such as flossing and brushing thoroughly twice a day. They will also advise you about using fluoride rinse at home.

Your child’s dentist will likely hand your little one a souvenir to take home such as a new toothbrush, toothpaste and carrying case. Others may provide stickers or teeth-themed toys to reinforce the ease and fun of going to the dentist. Before you leave, a receptionist will schedule a follow-up visit in six months and hand you a reminder card. That’s it – you and your child have successfully made it through their very first dental visit and it wasn’t scary at all!

It’s important to make visits to the dentist a common event – every six months. The more routine they are, the less likely your child is to have anxiety over the dentist in the future. Often, you can also utilize your child’s insurance benefit, including AHCCCS, for dental coverage, which should help reduce your anxiety as well.

So, this October leave the spooky frights to things that go bump in the night and remember that your pediatric dentist is one of the good guys.