Taking your child to the dentist for the first time is an important milestone. That appointment starts your child’s relationship with their family dental care office and introduces them to their dentist.  

But how do you know what to expect at that first appointment? This post is here to help you know what your dentist will go over during your first pediatric appointment. When you’re ready to get started with a local dentist in Seattle, contact our team at First Hill Dental Center. Schedule an appointment today!

Pediatric Dentist Visit 

If you’re unsure when your child’s first dental visit should happen, a good rule is to bring them in before their first birthday or within the six months after their first tooth comes in. This allows the dentist to monitor the growth of their teeth and make sure everything is going well with that process. 

As we’ve already mentioned, bringing your child into the dentist also allows them to start building a relationship with their dentist, preparing them for when they get older and will need more dental work done to their teeth. 

During that initial appointment, the dentist will want to go over a list of different things, both for the child and the parent. 

Exam 

The exam is the first part of the appointment. Your child will get a dental exam that involves having their teeth cleaned along with application of the fluoride varnish. If your child is unwilling or too nervous to climb into the dental chair, many parents will hold their child while we clean their teeth. 

This exam will give our dentist an idea of where your child is in their dental growth process and see how their teeth are coming in. 

Prevention for the Future

Since your child’s teeth are just coming in and developing, it’s important to make sure that those teeth stay healthy. 

The appointment also gives you time to go over a personalized preventative dental health plan with the dentist. This involves discussing ways to keep your child’s teeth free of cavities, different brushing and flossing techniques, and the type of toothbrush and toothpaste that should be used on their teeth. This is especially important for parents, as children are too young to do any of that work themselves. 

Growth and Development

The dentist will discuss any guidance related to the growth and development of your child’s teeth. This includes discussions around thumb-sucking and pacifier use. The dentist will also want to know other things, like their nursing habits and bottle use. 

Behaviors like pacifier and thumb sucking are normal behaviors for infants and toddlers. But as their teeth continue to develop and come in, you’ll want to start weaning them off these comfort items — usually around 24 months — to prevent misalignment or long-term oral problems. Discussing their current habits will help everyone prepare for the future. 

Dietary Considerations

Different snacks and diets can make your child’s teeth prone to tooth decay. If you’re trying to keep your child’s teeth healthy, you want to avoid sugary foods, juices, and candy. These foods can erode the enamel on their teeth and cause cavities. 

If your child eats those foods, you want to make sure they rinse their mouth and brush their teeth after eating. This helps get the sugar washed out of their mouth. 

Reminder: Sweetened medicines also contain sugar to make them taste better to children. So make sure you have them rinse out their mouths or brush their teeth after taking those medications. 

Keeping Their Teeth Protected at Home

Since your child’s teeth are constantly growing and coming in, you want to make sure you’re doing everything to keep them healthy and free of cavities. There are certain things you can do at home to keep your child’s teeth protected, like: 

  • Limit how long your child has their bottle. They should finish it in five to six minutes. 
  • Help your child brush their teeth until they’re seven or eight. That way you know they’re properly brushing and flossing all of their teeth each time. 
  • If their teeth haven’t come in yet, you can keep their gums clean by using a fresh, damp washcloth. 
  • Don’t let them fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. Sleeping with a bottle can cause baby bottle tooth decay. 
  • When your child’s first tooth appears, start brushing it with a soft brush and just a tiny amount of toothpaste. 
  • Limit the foods and snacks that can increase their chances of tooth decay. 

Trust Our Local Family Dental Care

When it comes to your child’s first pediatric dentist visit, there’s nothing to worry about. We hope this post helped you know what to expect during your first appointment. 

If your child has their first tooth, or needs to get started with a dentist, schedule their pediatric dental appointment at our family dental care office in Seattle. Choose First Hill Dental Center today!