A complete dental exam involves a thorough inspection of your teeth, gums, jaw, neck, and head. The dentist scans for existing issues in your mouth and health issues like oral cancer. Your oral health is closely liked to your overall health because issues like gum disease increase your risk of health issues like pneumonia, heart…
Preparing Children for Their First Dental Examinations
Just as with adults, regular dental examinations are an important component of health and wellness in children. Early experiences can set the tone for how people prioritize and manage visits to the dentist into adolescence and adulthood. A memorable unpleasant experience can instill a negative mindset towards dental care in the future. Fortunately, preparing a child for their first big visit can help make the appointment less stressful and even enjoyable.
The importance of dental checkups during early childhood
The American Dental Association recommends that parents schedule a child's first dental appointment soon after the first teeth appear above the gum line. Most dental insurance plans cover this type of regular six-month checkup for every age. While some may think dental care is not important when dealing with baby teeth, these cleanings and evaluations are important in building healthy oral care routines. In addition, visiting the dentist at a young age helps professionals detect issues that can be corrected more easily in early childhood:
- Misaligned teeth
- Narrow palate
- Unhealthy oral habits
Whether treatment is prescribed in the form of lifestyle changes or dental intervention, early detection can save time, money, complications and unnecessary discomfort down the road.
Tips for children's first dental examinations
In order to set a child up for success, it is beneficial to be proactive about preparing for any type of medical or dental appointment. Helping a child feel safe and comfortable during this experience can lead to improved health and wellness in the future.
Searching for a kid-friendly location
Parents should use available resources to research nearby locations. Online reviews or word of mouth are excellent sources to be considered when searching for a family dentist. While pediatric dentists focus on working with children and may offer several age-appropriate amenities, a general dentist is also qualified to treat kids of all ages. Both should be considered during the search.
Starting at the recommended age
By bringing children to the dentist during the first year of life, they are able to build familiarity with the environment. This also allows kids to bond with the staff and build trust with the dentist. By starting at the ADA recommended age, children are usually more comfortable once the treatment process becomes more in-depth.
Using books and visual media to prepare children ahead of time
It is unlikely that toddlers will remember prior visits to the dentist. Discussing an upcoming appointment by using books, movies or television shows can help a child prepare for the visit and know what to expect. The process should begin at least two weeks beforehand so that the child has enough time to learn and process the information.
Prioritizing oral hygiene at home
Children who do not brush and floss frequently at home will probably be frightened by dental examinations. However, routine home care can make the experience feel more familiar and less frightening. In addition to brushing and flossing every day, parents can practice inspecting the child's teeth while having them lie back on a sofa or changing table.
Regular dental examinations are helpful and important for young children. Proper planning can help prepare children for a more positive experience.
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