At what age should my child’s first dental visit be?
Good oral health begins with good oral care during infancy. We recommend that children have their first dental visit before their first birthday, which is also the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association. The idea is to nip any dental problems in the bud while they’re still manageable – or to prevent them altogether – it’s easier, and less costly.
How should I prepare my child for his/her first dental visit?
The first dental visit is an exciting time for a child and his/her parents. The first step begins at home with you. Be relaxed and at ease with your child. Any anxiety on your part will be sensed by your child. If your child is old enough to understand, say that we will “count and sparkle” and possibly “take pictures” of his/her teeth. Please don’t say things like “it won’t hurt,” because your child may not have even considered hurt until the word is said. Also don’t use words like “shot, drill, x-ray or needle.” Avoid relating any negative experiences you may have had, and try not to let other people tell your child stories that may provoke fear. If your child asks a lot of questions, you can say that “Dr. Beth and her helpers are very nice and will answer all your questions once we get there.”
What if my child is upset or cries?
Crying is a normal reaction to almost any kind of anxiety in a young child. New experiences, strange people and places fit into that category for the very young. Please do not let your child’s occasional tears upset you as it is very common and we anticipate crying in some small children. The more relaxed we (parent and dental staff) are at that time, the sooner the child will overcome his/her anxiety.
Will I be allowed to accompany my child to the treatment area?
Yes. We are happy to invite parents to the treatment area with their child. However, we kindly request that other children are not brought to the appointment. It is best to focus our attention on you and your child we are treating that day. If in rare circumstances we think your child may be better served in your absence, we will discuss it with you prior.
What will happen at the first dental visit?
After completing any necessary registration forms (you can find those forms here if you’d like save time and fill them out in advance), we’ll sit down and review your child’s medical history with care. Certain medical conditions affect dental health and how we may or may not perform dental treatment. We’ll also ask you about any particular concerns you may have.
Dr. Beth will look at your child’s teeth briefly to determine if any radiographs are necessary and whether a cleaning and fluoride treatment should be done at this time. We use the Tell-Show-Do technique to help your child feel comfortable and understand what will happen. We also use words which are not threatening, such as “picture, toothbrush, sparkle” instead of scarier sounding ones like “x-ray or drill”. Once any treatment is done, Dr. Beth will do a complete examination, which includes evaluation of the teeth and gums, a head and neck assessment and a preliminary orthodontic evaluation. She will review her findings with you, and discuss any further treatment recommendations. If your child needs further treatment, we will do our best to design a treatment plan to fit your time and budget concerns.
How often should my child see the dentist?
Typically children see the dentist at least every 6 months for a check-up and cleaning. However, in certain situations the dentist may recommend your child come more often, such as when certain conditions are being monitored. Feel free to ask about your child’s particular needs.
First Visit Pointers for Parents:
- Try to make dental visits enjoyable for your child, we’ll help!
- Set a good example for your child by brushing and flossing your own teeth daily.
- Let Dr. Beth and her staff guide your child through the appointment. By being a silent observer, you allow Dr. Beth and her staff to establish a relationship with your child, and to do what they do best: make your child feel comfortable, special, and grow up as a happy, confident dental patient.
- Bribe your child into going to the dentist.
- Let the child know you feel any anxiety about going to the dentist.
- Use words like “hurt, needle, drill, shot, x-ray, etc.”
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