You remember a great many things in the life of your child. Their first steps, their first words, and their first haircut.But did you know that you should also remember to schedule their first dental appointment?

It may need to happen sooner than you imagine. The American Dental Association recommends that kids first visit the dentist about six months after their first tooth begins to develop, or by their first birthday at the latest.

In today’s blog post from the Bayou Dental Group in Monroe, LA, we are going tell you about the importance of a child’s first dental appointment, as well as what you can expect from it.

Why So Soon?

The first question most parents ask us, is why does the first appointment need to happen so soon. A misconception exists thats baby teeth aren’t all that important, as they will eventually be replaced by the child’s permanent teeth. However, baby teeth play a vital role in your child’s oral health. God put them there for a reason, after all.

A health set of baby teeth helps your child develop natural speech patterns. Speech development is vital to a child’s education and self-confidence, and can be slowed tremendously by poor oral health. Lisps and other poor speaking tendencies can develop, many of which can take years to correct.

Your child’s baby teeth also help them chew properly, which allows them them to develop good nutritional habits. Problems with their baby teeth can lead children to favor soft foods, or avoid certain foods all together. A child’s diet is a learned behavior, and a full set of teeth ensures that they can eat a balanced diet.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a healthy smile helps your child to feel good about themselves. Proper self-esteem and confidence can go a long way towards helping your child through school and youth athletics. The more confident they are, the better they will do.

Preparing Your Child For Their First Dental Appointment

The sooner you begin taking your child to our office, the less likely they are to develop a fear of dentistry. Around their first birthday, they probably are still too young to become nervous about the excitement, noises, and sights in our office.

Most parents wait to take their children to our office until they are about two or three years old. By this age, the child is more likely to develop anxiety about being in an unfamiliar place. This anxiety can stay with a child until adulthood, making them more likely to put off needed dental work, and increases their risk of oral diseases.

If your child is nervous about their first appointment, there are a number of things you can do to calm their fear.

You may want to consider taking your child with you to one of your dental appointments. This can help familiarize them with our office, and teach them that a dentist is not someone to be feared. You may even want them to accompany both parents on dental visits, as the more time they spend here, the more comfortable they feel here. At Bayou Family Dental, in Monroe, LA, we’re experts at helping to put kids at ease.

You can also begin the process of teaching your kids about dentistry and good oral habits. There are a host of children’s books on the subject available at your local library or bookseller. There are also fun websites dedicated to the subject. It doesn’t matter how you teach them, it’s just important that you do so.

Finally, the night before the appointment you might to have some ‘make-believe’ playtime with your child. You can take turns counting each other’s teeth, and opening wide when asked. Make sure they get plenty of rest before the appointment, as this will also help put their mind at ease.

What to Expect on Your First Appointment

The first appointment often goes by in a breeze. We will assess your child’s oral health, and you may be asked to hold them while we do so. We will check for cavities, and make sure your child’s gums are healthy. Depending on the situation, we may also recommend a routine teeth cleaning for your child. We’ll also show your child how to maintain good oral hygiene, such as best practices to avoid cavities and the best ways to floss.

Make An Appointment

Don’t delay in getting your child to the office. At the Bayou Dental Group in Monroe, LA, we love helping children develop a beautiful smile. Click here to contact us or to schedule an appointment.