To ensure that your child develops healthy dental hygiene early on in life, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist before their first birthday. The visit should occur after your child’s first teeth erupt and before your child has had a chance to establish poor oral hygiene.
According to Dr. Nadia Kiderman, a dentist in New York, dentist’s offices have sounds and smells that are unfamiliar to a child and may seem scary. During this first visit, the dentist will spend time with your child and familiarize them with the office. Some dentists prefer the first visit to be a pretend visit that sets the standard for future visits. Either way, the dentist typically does not do any invasive work during the first visit. Most dentists will acquaint your child with their role by discussing oral hygiene, the importance of diet in maintaining healthy teeth and how to prevent accidents that could damage teeth. The dentist will start by getting the child accustomed to opening their mouth by pretending to count their teeth. Dentists will also familiarize the child with the tools of the trade. The visit may include teeth cleaning as a way to introduce some of the tools, however, most dentists typically avoid turning on the drill.
This first visit is very important as it sets the standard for subsequent visits. To ensure a good experience, preparation is necessary. Dr. Nadia Kiderman recommends that parents talk to their child prior to the visit. However, she stresses that parents should not give the child too many details that may cause the child unnecessary anxiety. The most important thing a parent can do during the pre-visit discussion is to keep a positive attitude.
Parents also need to prepare themselves. They need to remember that the dental staff is trained to work with children and it is important to allow the staff to do their job. Parents typically understand their children better than the dental office staff does, but the staff has experience with children in the dentist office setting. For example, the staff has developed a vocabulary and repertoire that makes children feel comfortable. They use the tried-and-tested vocabulary to explain the processes to children in a way that is not alarming or scary.
Dr. Nadia Kiderman has a practice in New York where she offers a variety of services including pediatric dentistry.