Your child’s first dental visit
Along with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend that a child’s first dental visit be scheduled by his/her 1st birthday. It is very important to make their first visit as positive and enjoyable as possible. We want your child to enjoy getting to know our friendly doctors and knowledgeable staff and be comfortable at all times. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future office visits. Let the child know that the doctors and staff will explain everything in detail and will answer any questions he/she has. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they may be feeling.
Benefits of a Year One dental visit
- 1 + 1 = ZERO. ONE dental visit when there’s ONE tooth can equal ZERO cavities.
- Visiting a pediatric dentist by the time the first baby tooth appears enables the child to have a dental home and begin a lifelong preventive dental care program to minimize tooth decay and cavities.
- Pediatric dentists can detect early tooth decay, provide parents with information on proper oral and facial development, determine fluoride needs and more.
- The year one dental visit can actually save money. A study in the journal Pediatrics showed that children who have their first dental visit before age one have 40 percent lower dental costs in their first five years than children who do not, due to the cost of dental and medical procedures that may be necessary as a result of poor oral health.
Preparing your child for their dental visit
Introduce your child to the dental environment early.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that every child establish a dental home and visit a dentist by their first birthday. The earlier the visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems.
Give your child the best care by choosing a pediatric dental practice.
Pediatric dentists have two to three years of specialized training beyond dental school in treating children.
Select an appointment time when your child is alert and rested.
Small children often do best during morning appointments instead of late in the evening.
You, as the parent, play a key role in your child’s dental care. Children often perceive a parent’s anxiety which makes them more fearful. Children tolerate procedures best when their parents understand what to expect and prepare them for the experience. If you have any questions about the appointment, please ask. As you become more confident, so will your child.
Talk about the upcoming appointment with your child.
For small children who may not understand the concept of dentistry, try to keep the discussion simple. Simply explain before the visit that the dentist is a friend and will help them keep their teeth healthy. Add that the visit will be fun. Sometimes too much explanation can leave the child feeling doubtful and nervous.
Answer all your child’s questions positively. (Keep an ear out for scary stories from peers and siblings.)
Be cautious about using scary words like: “ hurt, shot, poke or pull”. Typically the first visits do not have anything to do with “hurt,” so do not even use the word! Putting your child in a state of fear may result in uncooperative behavior which can limit options for treatment.
Read your child a story about a character that had a good dental visit.
Make a list of your questions about your child’s oral health in advance. This could include such topics as home care, injury prevention, diet and snacking, fluoride and tooth development.
Give your child some control over the dental visit.
Such choices as “Will you hold your bear or should I?” or “Which color toothbrush do you like?” will make the visit more enjoyable.
New patient forms
To help us with your chart, please fill out our online patient forms and bring them to your first visit.