Visiting the dentist for a cleaning can be a scary experience for some children, but it is something that must be done. Parents can relieve some of their children’s fears about a first dental cleaning by taking the time before the appointment to fully prepare them for what to expect during their visit to the dentist.
Hancock Village Dental has created a comprehensive guide that explains what will happen during your child’s first dental cleaning. It is our hope that parents can use the information in this guide to make their child feel calm and comfortable about visiting the dentist for a dental cleaning.
A First Visit to the Dentist Doesn’t Always Include a Cleaning
Many parents believe that just because they scheduled a routine checkup for their child that it automatically means their child will have a cleaning. That isn’t always the case.
Dental cleanings are typically performed after a child’s third birthday, but that shouldn’t be a child’s first experience with a dentist. Parents should be scheduling regular pediatric dental checkups six months after the child’s first tooth appears or at a child’s first birthday, whichever occurs first.
Regular dental checkups serve two purposes. They allow a pediatric dentist to monitor a child’s oral health and spot any potential problems before they become too severe. They also help familiarize a child with visiting the dentist.
While first dental cleanings usually occur around a child’s third birthday, sometimes they may need to occur earlier. If during those regular dental checkups your dentist notices signs of decay, a recommendation for a dental cleaning may be made and your child may have their first cleaning before they turn three.
What to Expect During a Child’s First Dental Cleaning
Dental hygienists and pediatric dentists understand that children are often scared of their first dental cleaning. To help relieve some of a child’s fears, dental staff are trained to walk a child through their first cleaning step by step.
Before a cleaning begins, a dental hygienist – the person who usually does the actual cleaning – will introduce themselves to your child. They may ask them a few questions about their interests and other things. This is done to help a child feel comfortable with the dental hygienist and not feel like a stranger is performing the dental cleaning.
Depending upon the comfort level of your child the dental hygienist may ask you to sit in the chair and hold your child for the cleaning. If your child is comfortable with visiting the dentist, you will still be asked to come back to the exam room, but you do not have to sit in the chair. Parents are often required in the exam room so they can be fully informed about their child’s oral health, ask any questions that may arise during the exam or cleaning, and to help if a child starts to feel scared during the appointment. Once everyone is calm and situated the dental cleaning can begin.
Parents are actually surprised to discover that a child’s dental cleaning is no different than the dental cleaning adults undergo. A pediatric dental cleaning involves a hygienist brushing the teeth, professionally cleaning the teeth with dental equipment, and flossing. If needed a fluoride treatment will be administered during a cleaning.
While the hygienist is performing each step of the dental cleaning, he or she will explain to your child what is being done and why it is being done. The hygienist will answer any questions your child or you may have and even provide oral health care tips that you can do at home.
Before the appointment for a dental cleaning is over, your child will be seen by the pediatric dentist. The pediatric dentist will check your child’s mouth for any signs of problems with tooth growth or jaw alignment and see if any treatment is needed because of the existence of tooth decay.
Is your child in need of their first dental cleaning? Call Hancock Village Dental in Clermont, Florida to schedule an appointment for a pediatric dental cleaning. Our kind, compassionate staff has the knowledge and training needed to help make your child’s first dental cleaning a stress-free experience.