Health

Your child's first dental visit

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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THE arrival of baby teeth is momentous because they allow children to graduate to a variety of new foods.

In addition to celebrating this new stage in your baby's development, you should also begin to think about a first visit to the dentist.

Although parents of infants may not yet be concerned with dental care, it is recommended that the first dentist visit for children take place before a baby's first birthday. Initially, dental visits are mostly informative in nature, but even at this early age, dental professionals help to establish a proper oral care routine that can last a lifetime.

Finding a paediatric dentist

To find a paediatric dentist, check with your paediatrician or insurance company about providers in your area. Additionally, you may want to ask friends and family members for referrals.

Narrow your search based on locations and office hours that fit best into your schedule. Try to interview several paediatric dental practices before selecting the one where you and your child feel most comfortable. In addition to calling for information, many dental practices also have websites with FAQs to help answer your questions.

Prepare in advance

Ensure that your child is well rested and not hungry around the time of the appointment. It may be helpful to write down a list of questions ahead of time to ask the dentist.

Very importantly, check with your dental insurance provider about copays and coverage before the day of your child's first dentist visit. Most dental providers ask for proof of dental and medical insurance at time of service.

Lastly, bring a list of your child's current medications, and be prepared to fill out a health history form.

Although it is not necessary to prepare extremely young children in advance of a dental appointment, you may want to discuss the first visit with an older child. If your child experiences some anxiety over a dental appointment, try to ease his worries by reading books about dentists or by watching television shows to help to visualise what the visit will be like.

What to expect during your child's first dentist visit

During the first visit, the dentist will typically educate parents on proper gum and tooth care for babies. You may also discuss pacifier use and how proper nutrition helps to maintain healthy teeth.

The dental professional should also demonstrate brushing techniques for parents so that they are able to knowledgeably assist young children with oral care. At the end of the appointment, the dentist should also provide you with the opportunity to ask questions.

By establishing a good working relationship with a paediatric dentist, parents will ensure that their child receives proper dental care beginning at an early age. Setting a precedent for dental appointments at an early age helps children to become accustomed to a proper oral care routine.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.

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