KUTV - interview photo

Baby Your Baby – Tips for child’s first visit to the dentist

State Dental Director Dr. Stacey Swilling, DDS, made an appearance on KUTV’s Baby Your Baby in February 2023 to share tips for a child’s first visit to the dentist. The following segment was originally published by KUTV news on Friday, February 17, 2023. To view the full video interview, click on the image below.

KUTV - interview photo

Does your baby have his or her first tooth? Have you celebrated his or her first birthday? It’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist if you answered “yes” to either of these questions.

Cavities can form as soon as a tooth comes in so it’s important to get your child started on the journey to a healthy smile. Our State Dental Director, Dr. Stacey Swilling, is here to talk about what to expect at the first visit to the dentist; as well as some tips to make the visit fun and easy for you and your child.

What to expect at the first visit to the dentist

The dentist will examine your baby’s mouth and teeth to look for cavities, injuries, or developmental issues. You can hold your baby in your lap while the dentist does the exam if your child can’t sit in the chair alone (or doesn’t want to). The dentist will also give you tips during the visit for daily care.

Prepare early for the visit. 

  • Talk to your child about going to the dentist. Be positive and excited. 
  • Talk about how lucky your child is to get to go to the dentist! 
  • Have your child practice opening his or her mouth to get ready for when the dentist counts and checks the teeth. 
  • Read books or watch videos about the first dental visit to help your child feel more confident and less worried.

Tips for a great first visit to the dentist:

  • Pick a time for the appointment when your child is generally well-rested and cooperative.
  • Avoid naptime appointments.
  • Feed your child a light meal and brush his or her teeth before the appointment. Most of us are happier when we aren’t hungry.
  • Save snacks until after the visit. You don’t want food on your baby’s teeth during the exam. 
  • Ask for the required paperwork before the visit. It may be easier to fill out paperwork at home than in the waiting room with a baby.
  • Write down any questions you have for the dentist to take with you.

This should be a happy and fun experience! Don’t worry if your child becomes upset during the appointment. It’s no big deal. We see this all the time. The dental team will work with you to help calm your baby. We all want your baby to have a lifetime of healthy teeth.

It isn’t too late to get your child started on the journey to a healthy smile if your baby has already reached these milestones but hasn’t seen the dentist yet. Just schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can.

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