A baby’s first visit to the dentist should happen at one year of age or 6 months after their first tooth appears. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all children should establish a dental home. At your baby’s first visit, your dentist will focus on growth, development, and cavity prevention. Establishing a good relationship between your baby and your dentist at an early age will assist in creating a positive outlook for a lifetime of great dental care.
At your child’s first dental visit, we will not only look into your child’s mouth, but we will assess your home care routine. We will work with you to develop a plan that works with your schedule and will help to prevent decay.
During the first visit, you will be invited back with your infant. Together we will review your child’s health history and will discuss your main concerns about their teeth. The hygienist will work with you on topics such as home care, tooth brushing, diet and feeding habits, and oral habits. They will discuss things such as pacifiers or thumb sucking and will answer any questions you may have. The doctor will then perform a thorough exam and count all the teeth. The exam includes your child’s head, neck, teeth, and intra-oral soft tissue. The occlusion, or the way that the teeth are aligned and function together, will also be evaluated.
Radiographs or x-rays are valuable aids in the oral health care of infants, children, adolescents, and individuals with special health care needs. They are used to diagnose and monitor oral diseases, survey erupting teeth, evaluate trauma, as well as monitor development and the progress of therapy. The timing of the initial radiographic examination should not be based upon the patient’s age but upon each child’s individual circumstances. Because each patient is unique, the need for dental radiographs can be determined only after reviewing the patient’s medical and dental histories, completing a clinical examination, and assessing the patient’s vulnerability to environmental factors that affect oral health. At our office, we make every effort to minimize the patient’s exposure to radiation. We use a lead apron, thyroid collars, and high-speed film; beam collimation which all are important radiological practices to minimize your child’s risk. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children and adolescents get bitewing X-rays every six to 12 months if they have cavities. Those who don't have cavities can go a year or two between scans.
If your child has any issues or signs of decay, the doctor will talk with you about your treatment options. In some cases, the doctors may ask you to come in more frequently for exams and evaluations if they believe the child is at risk of developing cavities.
As a parent, your role in the first visit is crucial. Children are very keen on our moods and feelings. They are able to sense when you are nervous for them or display any anxiety. You can help by using positive language around your child when speaking of the dentist. You can also role-play with him or her and count their teeth at home. There are several children’s books and videos available to help familiarize them with what to expect at their first appointment. The first visit is exciting and can be lots of fun for everyone. Your positive outlook will assist them in creating a positive outlook for a lifetime of great dental care.
During future appointments, once the child is age-appropriate, we respectfully request that parents remain in the reception room while we care for your child. We have learned that we can establish a direct and close relationship more quickly with your child when you remain in the reception area. Our goal is to gain your child’s confidence and help him or her to overcome any apprehension. At age three we begin cleaning your child’s teeth and placing fluoride. The fluoride treatment will help in cavity prevention. We will finish with the doctor counting your child’s teeth while giving them a thorough exam.
Our staff is trained for working with children. We give each child individual attention and praise to create a friendly, fun environment. Many children love coming to our office for a chance to see our staff, “their friends,” and play games. Our office is equipped with several televisions throughout the treatment areas with child-friendly movies playing. We also have toys and stuffed animals to make your child feel right at home.