The first year of life is an exciting one. There are cuddles, grins, and so many firsts. Some of those firsts are a bit more fun than others. That first step is thrilling. The first real tumble? Not so much. When that first glimpse of white starts to shine through those adorably pink gums, then the drooling grumpiness all makes sense and we clap as if they had done a cartwheel.

Bringing your kid to the dentist for the first time

(Pixabay / marcioandrei)

There is something special about watching teeth come in. It can be a painful process, but it is a visual reminder that they are growing up quickly. Teeth signal the coming of eating, talking, and independence. Once those teeth start appearing, a bit of babyhood gets left behind.

Teeth are a small but mighty part of the human body. They work hard all day, every day, and are front and center for conversations–literally. So, as soon as they make an appearance, it is worth thinking about how to take care of them. Starting early and thinking ahead is good advice for road trips, camping trips, and dental care. Luckily, the dental care part takes less gas, planning, and you’ll know where the bathroom is.

When do you start?
Taking care of your baby’s teeth and gums can start as early as you want. Mostly, you are just building a habit for them. You can start “brushing” their gums with a wet washcloth. This just helps them get used to the routine. Once they start growing teeth, you can start using a finger brush and add a gentle cleanser. Twice a day is a good routine to start with those little chompers.

As for the dentist visits, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children visiting the dentist about six months after that first tooth breaks through. It is good to establish a relationship with the dentist early so that the child is comfortable. At Felt Family Dentistry, we suggest regular visits so that we can keep an eye on the teeth as they grow, watching for early signs of problems, and build a comfortable relationship with your child as they grow. The key is to make trips to the dentist a fun and positive experience, and that is easier if you start early.

Where do you start?
When you are taking your child to the dentist, you want to find the right fit. Some people prefer to take their children to an exclusive pediatric dentist, while others prefer to have the entire family visit the same dentist. Take time to visit the office and look around. Is there an inviting, bright, and happy feeling? Do you feel welcome and comfortable? It is important to find a dentist that talks to a child through the visit, telling them what is happening at every step in the process. This is both comforting and respectful. To see what kind of kids dentist we are, take a look at our testimonial page. You can read reviews from happy clients from West Haven, Layton, Kaysville, and all-around Weber County, Utah. Come in and see for yourself and let us put you and your family at ease.

How do you start?
Once you’ve picked the dentist and set the appointment, it is time to get excited! Children are a combination of a sponge and a mirror. They absorb every emotion you put out there and will mirror your responses. If you are anxious about a dental visit, they will absorb and reflect that. The best thing you can do to prepare is to look forward to it with positivity. That doesn’t mean you need to build it up like a trip to Disney World or anything—that will lead to disappointment unless you pick a dentist that hands out Dole whips and dresses like Cinderella. However, your measured enthusiasm can go a long way in helping your children look forward to a trip to the dentist as a fun outing.

If you are bringing your young child to the dentist for the first time, there are some great resources to help you prepare for the dentist. Peppa the Pig has an episode on going to the dentist, and here is a list of books that might be fun to read together to prep for the first visit. Don’t feel like you need to read and watch every resource out there; just pick one or two favorites. Again, children can smell anxiety, even if it is wrapped in reading too many books and watching a video about a dentist every day for weeks.

It is a great idea to let your children know what to expect. It might even be a good idea to visit the office before their appointment. Then you can take them through a “practice” appointment at home, counting their teeth and shining a flashlight in their mouth. These little rehearsals can make a big difference when it is game day.

Let us help you start
There is so much to think about with our little ones. We worry about every part of them. Are they reading enough? What about screens? What kind of shoes should they wear? What about college? Should they be talking yet? Walking?

Luckily, teeth can be an easy part. Start early, keep it simple, and let us help. You stick to the important stuff like snuggling and hugging. We’ll take care of the teeth.