To establish a lifelong habit of good dental care, you should take your child to the dentist early and often. But how can you ensure your child’s first dentist visit is a positive experience? Even more important, what can you do to maintain a good relationship with the dentist throughout your child’s early years?
Call our Racine, WI dental office today at 262-417-7326 to make an appointment for family dentistry. Dr. Reesman and our whole team work well with children and can help them feel safe and welcome for their first dental visit.
Visit a Child-Friendly Dentist
For your child’s first dentist visit, you’ll want to find a dentist who knows how to interact with children. Dr. David Reesman is your Racine family dentist with a gentle demeanor reminiscent of Fred Rogers, the late host of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He also has six children of his own and recently celebrated four decades of practicing dentistry.
Given this experience, our Dr. Reesman knows how to put children – and their parents – at ease.
You know a dental office is child-friendly when it has a “treasure chest” so children can select a small toy to help keep them happy during their dental appointment! And the “tickle brush” is one of our favorite tools to employ during children’s exams at North Bay Dental.
We enjoy answering all of your children’s questions; yes, even the silly ones. We like to get your children to help us count their teeth, and we even give adventurous kids a “ride” in our dental chair.
Your Child’s First Dentist Visit
Children should have their first dentist visit before their first birthday, recommends the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Unfortunately, many people do not follow this advice. A 2009 survey sponsored by Delta Dental Plans Association found that the average age for a child’s first visit to the dentist was 2.6 years.
During your child’s first dentist visit to North Bay Dental, we conduct a “knee-to-knee exam.” While you hold your baby on your lap, sitting with your knees nearly touching, our Dr. Reesman examines your child’s teeth and mouth.
In many ways, the visit will be similar to a well-baby visit to your pediatrician. We will show you how to clean your baby’s teeth, discuss appropriate oral care, and answer all of your questions.
Here are some tips that will help your child’s first dentist visit go well:
- Leave any other children at home, if possible
- Consider taking a spouse, other family member, or friend to help out, so you can more fully focus on what we are saying
- Schedule your visit during a time of day when your child is usually well-rested
- Write down in advance any questions you’d like to ask so you do not forget
Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth
Because baby teeth are more porous than adult teeth, they are more susceptible to decay. So it is important to get into the habit of good dental care early in your child’s life.
Even though your child will lose these baby teeth, it is important to keep them in the best condition possible. Baby teeth play a role in proper speech development, and they help save space in your child’s mouth that will ultimately be filled by permanent teeth.
At your child’s first dentist visit, our suggestions for caring for baby teeth will likely include:
- Wipe baby’s gums with a damp washcloth at least twice a day
- Begin brushing baby teeth as soon as they come in, using a soft-bristled brush and water
- Avoid nursing your child to sleep, and do not put anything other than water in a bedtime bottle
Tips for a Teething Baby
You’ll probably want to ask us some questions about teething during your child’s first visit to North Bay Dental. After all, it can make your baby pretty miserable. Teething can cause irritability, sleeplessness, excessive drooling, and loss of appetite.
To comfort a teething child, we recommend:
- A teething ring
- Massaging your baby’s gums with your finger
- A numbing gel
Taking Toddlers to the Dentist
As your child gets older, it is important to maintain a positive attitude toward the dentist and dental care in general. This is where our “treasure chest” and rides in our dental chair can help!
Here are some other tips that will help ensure your toddler sees the dentist as a friend:
- Talk to your child about the dentist before you go
- Read books together that present dentists in a positive way
- Let your child help you pick out toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Combine visits to the dentist with another favorite activity, like stopping by the playground
We will begin offering more extensive dental treatments as your child gets older, such as cleaning teeth and applying dental sealants to help prevent decay. To check out North Bay Dental’s child-friendly office, call 262-417-7326 for an appointment.