Your Child's First Visit

We'll make your child's first visit enjoyable.

The first visit at one of our pediatric dental offices should be an enjoyable one for both child and parent. You should expect to meet one of your pediatric dentists to review your child's medical history and prior dental experiences. For the younger, apprehensive patient, the dentist may choose to perform the child's examination in one of our consultation rooms, possibly with the child sitting comfortably on a parent's lap.

After talking with your child's dentist, our older first time patients, who feel comfortable in our office, often go back into our treatment area accompanied by the dentist or one of our hygienists. Most times we prefer children to go into our treatment area alone.

With older children, doctor-child communication is often enhanced if parents remain in the reception room. At the first visit your child will receive a thorough dental examination, dental cleaning, topical fluoride application, and if old enough, dental X-rays. X-rays are necessary to evaluate if there is decay in places that cannot be visualized by an exam, such as in between your child's back teeth. They are also important to evaluate the growth and development of your child's jaws and permanent teeth. There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. The dentist will inform the parent of any treatment your child will receive prior to your child going into the treatment area.

Not all children have a pleasant first visit to the dentist. While our staff does our best to make your child comfortable, some children will be scared and get upset. Crying is a normal reaction for children when faced with a new situation.

Our pediatric dentists are trained in many methods to help children feel comfortable with dental treatment. For example, in the "Tell-Show-Do" technique, a pediatric dentist might name a dental instrument, demonstrate the instrument by using it to count your child's fingers, and then apply the instrument in treatment. We are here to make the dental office a place your child will always feel comfortable.

At the end of every visit, one of our dentists will consult with you in private to review your child's visit. We will also inform you of what future treatment is needed and when to make your child's next appointment. The first visit usually ends with your child leaving the office with a new toothbrush, stickers, prizes and hopefully a large smile on his or her face.

Issues discussed at the first visit may include:

  • A program of preventative home care including brushing, flossing, diet and the importance of fluorides
  • A caries risk assessment
  • Information about Early Childhood Caries, which may be due to inappropriate nursing habits or inappropriate use of sippy cups
  • The latest facts about finger, thumb and pacifier habits
  • What you need to know about preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth
  • Information on growth and development

Tip of the day

You should clean and massage your baby's gums daily to help establish healthy gums and to aid in teething. Cleaning your child's teeth should begin when the first tooth is visible (at about six months) because teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth.

Read more tips

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