BUFFALO GROVE, ILLINOIS – The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child’s first visit to the dentist be as soon as teeth erupt, or by their first birthday- whichever comes first.
Drs. James Orbon, David Maddox and Cameron “CJ” Wagner at Affiliated Dental Specialists want to share some tips for making the first visit go smoothly, even if the first appointment is when the child is older than age 1.Select a friendly, patient and understanding pediatric dentist. “One negative experience at the dentist’s office due to a rude or rushed dentist pressuring an anxious child or parent can be a big set-back in preventive oral health care,” says Dr. Wagner, a kids’ dentist.
- Prepare your child by telling them what to expect and have them observe Mom, Dad or a sibling’s appointment. Read books about visiting the dentist, or play dentist with a favorite stuffed animal or doll. Treat the visit like a special occasion, not an ominous one.
- Schedule the appointment strategically. “You know your child best, so make an appointment when the child is most likely to be well-rested, happy and relaxed,” says Dr. Maddox, who has been a children’s dentist since 1988.
The initial visit is to establish good oral health care. The appointment usually includes an examination and instructions for preventive care. The earlier a prevention plan begins the healthier the teeth, gums and mouth.
“Part of the reason for an early visit to the dentist is getting them used to the office and having fingers in their mouth for an examination and eventually cleanings,” says Dr. Orbon, a Buffalo Grove pediatric dentist.
If there are dental development issues, the dentist might recommend an early intervention orthodontics consultation with an Affiliated Dental Specialists’ on-site orthodontist. Many orthodontic problems can be monitored early to prevent major issues, saving the child years in braces later down the road.
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