It's hard to believe your child's adorable gummy grin will disappear, but at some point you'll need to schedule that first dentist appointment for your little one. Typically when your child starts getting teeth is when he should be seen by a dentist. Many dentists will recommend a visit right around your child's first birthday. Starting young can benefit everyone in the long run.
Before you take your child to the dentist decide if you want a pediatric dentist or a family practice dentist. Of course whomever you choose must have the skill and bedside manner to work on very young children. The time of day is important when scheduling your child's first visit. When are they happiest and most cooperative? Plan accordingly and make your child's appointment during a prime part of their day. Ask any questions you may have about the appointment before you schedule anything. If you don't like what you hear–run!
Consider the office decor when you walk in. Is it kid friendly? Is it bright and welcoming? From the furniture to the wall color and waiting room, you and your child will want to feel comfortable while you're there. Does the office staff welcome you to sit next to your child during the cleaning? If you don't feel welcomed and invited to stay with your child chances are your dentist isn't going to give off the warm fuzzy feeling towards your child either.
What you can expect during the visit ranges from x-rays to simply counting your child's teeth. Much of the visit will depend on your child's age and how much he will tolerate. A typical dental visit includes a set of x-rays, counting/brushing/flossing your child's teeth. The hygienist will handle the first part of the exam and the dentist will come in to follow up and look for any abnormalities or “problems”. Now is your opportunity to ask questions and consult with the dentist.
Dentist visits don't have to be scary! Prepare your child by talking to him and reading books about visiting the dentist office. Don't let your own fears of the dentist rub off on your child. Researching and preparing yourself before the dentist visit will help alleviate any fears or concerns.