Brush Away Your Fears: A Parents’ Guide in Choosing a Pediatric Dentist

By Shailja Ensor

By Dr. Shailja Dhir Ensor

Making your child’s first trip to the dentist a comfortable experience sets in place healthy habits that will last a lifetime. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and it’s the perfect time to bring your little one to the dentist for their first exam.

The first visit to our office is a “meet-and-greet”, allowing the child to connect with the dentist before a need arises. For the parent, it’s an educational consultation to establish a dental home for the family. Parents can ask questions and receive guidance on issues such as teething and proper dental care.

Establishing an early relationship with the dentist develops trust and good oral hygiene practices.

Too often, a child’s first dental visit is after a trauma when a tooth is knocked out or broken.

Emergencies are always difficult, especially for young children. If an emergency occurs, the child has already established a relationship with the dentist, making the experience less traumatic for both child and parents.

Scheduling the initial visit is recommended by age one, or when the first tooth appears, whichever comes first. During the first visit, bring a toy that your child loves. The dentist will have a “knee-to-knee” exam while the child sits comfortably on the parent’s lap – a non-threatening position. At this time, the dentist can talk about proper brushing techniques and parents have the opportunity to ask and get answers to their questions or concerns.

Together, parents and your dental professional partner to develop an individual dental health plan to promote good oral hygiene, now and into the future.

Children with special needs require their own dental health plan. Our practice is happy to help develop this plan and, it is important to stress, the earlier parents of special needs children build a relationship with a dental professional, the better.

Parents should help children brush their teeth until age 10. Young children love to assert their independence but a toddler lacks the manual dexterity to physically perform the task well. While it is a parent’s job to promote independence and a consistent routine, when it comes to actual healthy cleaning of the teeth, tongue and gums, parents need to be involved for the best oral hygiene outcome.

To schedule your child’s exam, contact Drs. Ensor, Johnson and Lewis at 301-881-6170. For further information, visit our website: www.ejldental.com  

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