Preparing your Child for their First Visit to the Dentist

childs first dental appointment

childs first dental appointmentServing patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville TN

There are a lot of firsts when you have a baby – that initial trip home from the hospital, the first time your baby laughs or smiles, and then there is the infamous first step. What about taking your child to their first dental visit? The American Dental Association recommends you schedule this initial appointment once your baby turns one or when their first tooth erupts from the gum line. Your Greeneville family dentists at Tusculum Dental Care understand this can be a big moment to plan. That’s why we want to make sure your child’s first dental visit is a pleasant experience. Our dentists Dr. Craig Shepherd and Dr. Nathaniel Renner want to share this guide on what to expect for your child’s first dental appointment.

When to Start Seeing the Dentist  

If you don’t bring your child in at one year old for their first visit with your family dentist in Greeneville, you should do it before the age of three. If you suspect anything unusual with your child’s teeth, we will always want to assess them as soon as possible. Casual visits to Tusculum Dental Care are encouraged, as they will help your child become more comfortable with dental checkups. Our dental office should feel familiar and safe for both you and your little one.

Introducing Your Child to Dental Care

At your first visit, the staff of Tusculum Dental Care will want to introduce themselves to your little child. If we can talk and help your child to feel excited about the appointment, then we will begin the dental checkup. If your child is anxious or scared, we don’t want to use coercion or force to get them to willingly participate. Browbeating and pressuring will only make their first appointment unpleasant. We also always encourage parents to stay with their children during their first visit, as your presence can put them at ease. Down the road, once your child is older and they are more comfortable, our office includes open exam rooms and large windows to help your child stay relaxed during appointments.

Checklist For Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

If you discuss with your child what happens at the dentist before visiting their office, your child is more likely to be comfortable with their new dentist. This can be beneficial if your child is old enough to understand what you’re sharing with them.

Here’s what your child can expect from this initial visit:

  • Examination of their teeth (checking for normal tooth development)
  • X-rays are taken (depending on age)
  • A professional teeth cleaning using a toothbrush at first (polishing cup is used as the child is older, about age two or three)
  • At the appropriate age, application of protective fluoride or sealants
  • Asking about your child’s oral hygiene habits
  • Demonstration proper brushing and flossing techniques

We also will ask you about any concerns you have about your child’s teeth, as well as sharing share anything we discovered during the examination that may require further treatment.

Your Child’s Dental Health

Unfortunately, a lot of parents aren’t educated about children’s oral care. Problems with primary teeth (aka baby teeth) can affect the rest of their lives. If your child struggles to chew because of a painful tooth or misaligned bite, this can impact their nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be hard to chew without healthy teeth. If your child is having difficulties, they will learn it’s “easier” for them to choose unhealthy foods instead. Your child also may suffer from speech developmental delays or difficulties due to an undiagnosed tongue-tie or lip-tie. Even though your child inevitably will lose all their permanent teeth, having healthy baby teeth makes sure permanent teeth have enough space to erupt properly from the gum line. In the grand scheme of things, baby teeth also help decide if your child’s bite will form the right way.

Another long-term benefit of early dental care is prevention. If your child doesn’t take care of their teeth, it can affect their overall health later in life. The American Heart Association has stated that the accumulation of dental plaque on teeth and gums is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia. Childhood tooth decay is not always visible until substantial damage has occurred, or pain is evident. Aside from the medical benefits of proper dental care, there are also social benefits. Children who visit the dentist regularly are more likely to feel good about their smiles. Self-confidence and happiness will allow your child to develop better social skills and make daily activities seem more enjoyable to them.

Family Dentistry in Greeneville

Let the professionals at Tusculum Dental Care help set your child up for good dental health. Scheduling your child’s first dental appointment sets a tone for their oral hygiene habits for their entire life. Contact our office today to receive state-of-the-art family dental care. You can reach Tusculum Dental Care by calling (423) 639-7575 to schedule your child’s first appointment.

Tusculum Dental Care welcomes patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville, Tennessee.