Parents often wait too long to bring their children to their first dental visit. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents bring their children to the dentist for the first time at age one or two.
But every parent is different. Some parents believe that since a child’s baby teeth will fall out, there’s no reason to go to the dentist.
The issue is that your child is going to wait a long time before being exposed to a dentist. This leads to our first points.
1. Bring Your Child to the Dentist Before the Age of 2
Dentists won’t be doing too much to your child’s teeth at this time. Children under the age of 2 will be introduced to the dentist’s office, and they’ll get accustomed to the tools that are in the dental office.
It’s at this time that all of the fears your child has about the dentist at a later age can be eliminated.
When a child is introduced to a dentist at a young age, the dentist will be able to prevent some crowding and future issues with teeth development, and every session will be a new introduction. The child may be introduced to brushing, polishing and then other procedures in each subsequent visit to reduce the potential of fear and anxiety.
2. Explain the Procedures to Your Child
Adults are scared when going to the dentist, and children will be just as scared, especially when going to the dentist for the first time at an older age. Your child’s first visit will include a routine cleaning if they haven’t been to the dentist until their adult teeth have formed. Even a diligent brusher will still have bacteria on their teeth that needs to be cleaned away.
But while these measures are necessary to prevent cavities, you’ll also need to explain the process to your child.
It’s scary having someone reach into your mouth. It’s also scary having a stranger stick sharp objects in your mouth.
One of the best things you can do is find a dentist that works with children: pediatric dentistry. These dentists and hygienists are trained to work with children, and they’ll be more sympathetic to the child’s needs.
You want a dentist and hygienist that will work through your child’s fears, explaining the entire process to them as they work through the appointment.
3. Sedation Drugs Should Be Used with Severe Caution
Kids shouldn’t have severe dental issues yet, but these issues do happen in severe cases. The problem with dental issues, aside from basic cleanings, is that sedation may be recommended for the child.
And sedation can lead to serious injuries.
A recent case when sedation wasn’t necessary or was improperly administered for something as simple as a dental cleaning demonstrates the danger of sedation. The case involved a three-year-old boy who died from brain damage due to a sedation mixture that resulted in the boy going into cardiac arrest.
If the dentist recommends sedation, you may want to seek a second opinion. Dental routines involving sedation can result in brain damage and death.