Even if you yourself go to the dentist regularly for your cleaning and other procedures, it's completely understandable that taking your child to the dental clinic for the first time can still leave you slightly nervous. To help ease this anxiety, it's best to know what to expect during your child's first dental appointment.
The Initial Meeting
Some dentists would prefer to have a bit of time alone with your child just so they can establish a relationship together, but since this is a first dental exam you need to come into the office with the baby. The recommended age for the first dental exam is 6 months! At this point, it is important to let the dentist know if you child has had any issues with his or her teeth and gums so it can be noted in your child's dental history.
The dentist may prefer to just have you hold your baby throughout the dental examination. If your child is coming in for his first dental exam as a toddler, you can perhaps have him or her on your lap.
Once your baby or child has settled down, the dentist will start checking his or her teeth and gums. Generally, he or she is looking for signs of any possible disease or other dental issues. These include the presence of cavities, plaque, or tartar. The whole point of this examination is to get a complete picture of your child's dental health so that the dentist can make the appropriate recommendations regarding dental treatments, frequency of dental visits and oral hygiene practices.
After conducting a thorough examination of your child's teeth and gums, the dentist will proceed to do some dental cleaning. For a baby, this would generally involve just wiping down whatever teeth have grown by then with a piece of cotton. If your child is a toddler, the dentist will brush his or her teeth. There may also be some mild flossing and polishing afterwards.