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A First Dental Exam For Your Child- What To Expect And How To Prepare

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If your child has never had a dental exam, he or she may be a little nervous about an upcoming appointment. Still, a dental exam is no reason to be afraid. Here are a few things that a child can expect to happen during an initial dental exam and what you can do to prepare your little one for the dental visit.

What can your little one expect during the first dental visit?

During your child's first dental exam, the youngster can expect the following:

Dental X-rays- The dentist will likely take x-rays of your child's mouth to see any underlying conditions that are not readily visible to the naked eye. Deep cavities, dental infections, and alignment issues can easily be seen on an x-ray. Also, problems with underlying adult teeth can also be viewed. 

A Dental Cleaning- The dentist will lightly scrape your child's teeth with a scaling tool to remove tartar accumulations. Tartar, which is hardened plaque, cannot be removed from the teeth with conventional brushing and flossing due to its calcified state. Accumulations tend to develop along the gumline and between the teeth. After scaling the teeth, the dentist may lightly floss and brush the little one's teeth. 

Education- The dentist may review proper brushing and flossing techniques with the child. Some dentists use a large model of the teeth on which the child can practice.

Treatment of Small Cavities- If your child does have a small cavity, the dentist may treat it during the visit. Often, small areas of decay can be treated with minimal drilling and a bit of composite bonding material.

What can you do to help prepare your child for his or her first dental exam?

To prepare your child or his or her first dental exam, try the following:

  1. Look at videos of first dental appointments online. Nowadays, parents seem to videotape practically everything, including first dental exams. Allowing your youngster to watch another child's appointment can help the little one better understand what to expect, which can dispel unwarranted fears.
  2. Take your child on a tour of the dental office. Having your child stop by the office a few days or weeks prior to the appointment can alleviate the fear associated with entering an unknown environment. Be sure to allow the child to meet the dentist and the office staff.

For more ways to prepare your child for a first dental exam, contact a dental office in your local area.