We feel strongly that the earlier your child is seen by the dentist, the more likely it will be that your child develops a healthy smile and good dental habits. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that each child be seen by the dentist 6 months after the eruption of the first baby tooth, or by age 1, whichever comes first. We endorse this recommendation and love seeing our new patients!
How can I prepare for my child’s first dental visit?
Everyone at our office makes an effort to learn about you and your child, and their individual needs. We want your child to enjoy their visit to the dentist. We want each parent to feel they have been listened to and had an opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions. Children feed off of a parent’s attitude, and are more likely to have a good first visit (and subsequent visits) if a parent:
- Is positive
- Avoids words like: hurt, shot, painful, needle, etc.
- Refrains from relating negative dental experiences in the presence of your child
We will have a better chance to succeed with your child as you:
- Help us understand your child’s medical history
- Help us understand your child’s dental history
- Ask questions about your child’s dental health
We would recommend that you don’t over-prepare your child for this visit, as this can sometimes instill more anxiety in a child regarding what will happen. Reading a short book or a brief explanation about the dentist is appropriate, but too much information can do more harm than good.
What happens at this first visit?
For children younger than 3, we usually do a lap exam, which is often referred to as a “knee-to-knee” exam. A quick look at your child’s teeth can help us know if any cavities are present, but more importantly, this appointment gives us the chance to talk to you about some tips for preventing cavities in your young child, and what to expect in their normal dental development.
For children around three and older, we will take some dental x-rays, clean their teeth, and examine their teeth. We also notice the alignment of your child’s teeth and jaws, and can discuss the need for braces in the future (orthodontics), as well as other needs. We conclude by giving your child a high-strength fluoride treatment.
An important part of each visit is a focus on preventing tooth decay. We want you to be informed on the causes of cavities, and the ways to most successfully avoid future cavities in your child.
If dental treatment is recommended, we take time to review your options best suited your child’s needs. We want you to be well informed and involved in your child’s treatment.