While your child should begin visiting the dentist by the time they are a year old regardless of how many teeth they have, you can start to schedule their dental cleanings once they have a few of their baby teeth.
You will likely not begin to bring your child in for dental cleaning until they are between the ages of 1 and 3 years old. at this age, the dentist will be able to spot problem areas with plaque buildup allowing them to perform a thorough cleaning.
What can you do to help prepare your child for their dental cleaning?
Prior to your child's first dental cleaning, you should speak with them about what they can expect while at the dental office. Talk to children about the significance of keeping their teeth healthy, and describe what the dentist will do in language that is suitable for their age and stage of development.
When it comes to explanations for toddlers, less is more! Just give them the basics of what will happen during their visit in simple terms. Most of the time, we recommend that parents say something along the lines of this:
"The dentist is going to look at your teeth, count them, and make sure they are healthy and strong."
If you have a child that is unsure about visiting the dentist then you will likely try to avoid using words that can trigger an emotional response. However, even if you use softer language to describe the discomfort, such as terms like "not too bad" or "only a little," words such as shot, pinch, and needle are likely to stick in the mind of your child.
If dentist appointments are a source of worry for you, try not to express your feelings to your kid during the session. When it comes to responding to new experiences, they look to you for direction. If you appear to be concerned, they will be as well.
What to Expect During Your Child's Dental Cleaning
Feel free to speak with us ahead of your child's appointment and tell us a little about them so we also know what to expect. Do they have a tendency to be afraid or rebellious when confronted with unknown situations? Does your child have any attachment or developmental concerns that we should be aware of and address during the appointment?
If you offer us some information we can then use that to try to provide them with the care they need in a way that works well for them.
At the beginning of the session, we will inspect your child's teeth, jaws, gums, and bite to ensure that they are in good health.
In addition, we will also use our tools to remove any buildup of plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth and along the gum line.
We will present recommendations for correct brushing and flossing techniques. Whether your child washes and flosses his own teeth or you still do it for them, it never hurts to get a refresher course on the subject.
If you have any questions or comments about your child's dental care or dental health then please feel free to mention them during this time.
Following the completion of the exam and cleaning, we will schedule any required follow-up visits. Also, if you like, we may schedule the next cleaning and checkup session sooner if necessary.