As a parent of a baby or young child, growth and development milestones are exciting. The first haircut, first words, first tooth, and don’t forget the first visit to the dentist. In our opinion, there’s nothing cuter than the snaggle-toothed smile of a baby.
The dentistry team at Cobblestone Park Family Dental in OKC loves making the first dental appointment special and positive for children (and parents, too!). If you’re looking for an excellent pediatric dentist in OKC, we’re here to help.
When should my child have their first dental appointment?
When that first tooth pops up many parents begin to wonder, “does my baby need to see the dentist?” We recommend seeing a dentist either around your child’s first birthday or within six months of your child’s first tooth coming in. If your child meets these criteria and has not yet had a dental visit, that’s ok. Just make an appointment and begin care now.
Scheduling the appointment
After you choose a dentist for your child, the first step is scheduling their first dentist appointment. We recommend finding an appointment time that works best for your child’s schedule. Many one-year-olds still take two naps a day, or maybe your child has a predictable fussy time each day in the late afternoon. Choosing an appointment time that doesn’t conflict will help make the experience positive for your child.
The scheduling coordinators at Cobblestone Park Family Dental understand that finding the right appointment time can make all the difference for your child’s first visit to the dentist. When you submit our online form to schedule, please let us know what times work best for you and your child.
Preparing for the appointment
After scheduling your child’s first dentist appointment, you will want to prepare for the appointment. Ideally, throughout the first appointment, nothing surprises you or your child. We’ve found that the more children are prepared and excited, the easier it will be to make the experience smooth and positive.
Prepare Your Child
Depending on the age of your child, the ways you prepare your child for their first dental visit will look different. If your child’s first teeth came in very early, some of these ideas might not be relevant, but these activities may help make dentist visits very positive for toddlers and older. Here are a few ways you can prepare your child for their first dentist appointment:
- Roleplay dentist with your child
- Read books about going to the dentist
- Watch shows that positively portray the dentist to your child
- Practice sitting still while you brush your child’s teeth
- Practice opening and closing your mouth with your child
- Do crafts or activities designed to create excitement around teeth and oral health
- For babies or younger children, simply counting teeth will be valuable preparation
We believe visiting the dentist can be a genuinely fun, educational, and exciting time for a child. As you play and prepare, speak positively to your child about the dentist. Try not to project any personal fears or nervousness onto your child.
Prepare Yourself as the Parent
As the parent of a toddler, your hands and schedules are certainly full. We recommend you take a few minutes in the days before your child’s first dentist appointment to complete our new patient forms, send over insurance information in advance, and make a list of your child’s medications and any questions you have.
Preparing all of the paperwork and writing questions in advance will help you be able to focus on your child during the appointment instead of juggling papers and insurance cards. We want to help take care of all of that stuff so that you can focus on the most important thing–your child!
Prepare the Dentist
Another important way to prepare for your kid’s first dentist appointment is to prepare the dentist and dental assistant for meeting and examining your child. Please let us know if your child has any specific behavioral or medical problems you believe the dentist should know about. We want to be sensitive to your child’s needs and ensure each visit is happy.
What Happens at a Kid’s First Dentist Appointment?
On the day of your pediatric dental appointment, try to arrive about 10 or 15 minutes before your appointment time. We will get your child checked in, and they can become comfortable with our dental office in Oklahoma City. If visiting a new place causes anxiety for your child, feel free to bring a stuffed animal or comfort blanket they can hold during their visit.
Our team will call you and your child back to the exam room. If they can sit in the dental chair independently, that’s great! If they are a little too young to sit alone, you will sit in the dental chair with your child on your lap.
During the first appointment, the dentist will:
- Examine the jaw, teeth, tongue, gums, and mouth
- Check for cavities, injuries, or development issues
- Check your child’s bite
- Our dentist or dental assistant may also gently clean your child’s teeth.
Depending on your child’s age at their first dental appointment, we might also show your child how to brush their teeth or floss. We may also recommend taking X-rays or other treatments. However, most often, the first dentist visit for children is an opportunity for the dentist to ensure oral health and development are going well and create a positive association between your child and visiting the dentist.
During your child’s first dental visit, please ask any questions you may have. Many parents ask about pacifiers, bottle use, tooth decay, brushing methods, flossing, or decay-causing food and drinks during their child’s first appointment. Whatever you’re concerned about, our pediatric dental experts want to support you.
How Often Should My Child See the Dentist?
Children should see the dentist every six months, just like adults. Ensuring regular appointments are on your calendar will establish a precedent and positive relationship between your child and the dentist. Regular teeth cleanings and checks from the dentist will benefit your child’s lifelong oral health.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment Today
If your child has yet to visit the dentist, or if you have not visited a dentist consistently, contact the Cobblestone Park Dental team in Oklahoma City to schedule an appointment. As a family dental office, we see pediatric dental patients every day, and we’re passionate about being pediatric dentists that OKC families trust for all their dental needs. We look forward to seeing you soon!