We understand that as a parent, you have all sorts of things that you have to plan and worry about, which is why we’re glad to take over the role of your child’s dental health advisers. As your trusted pediatric dentist, we’ll be glad to help with any and all of your dental health concerns for your child when you bring him or her in for their first visit.
The Importance of Your Child’s First Dental Visit
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric
Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a “dental home” for your child by one year of age. The AAPD defines the dental home as “the ongoing relationship between the dentist and patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family centered way.”
In other words, you should bring your child to their first dental appointment before they’re 12 months of age so that they can begin a healthy, happy relationship with their dentist. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.
Preparing for Your Child’s First Visit
The first thing you should do is talk to your child about what to expect beforehand. Make sure not to make too big of a deal about it or get too nervous; children tend to pick up on your nervousness and it can make them anxious as well. Let your child know that we’ll simply be looking inside his or her mouth and we’ll also spend some time talking to you two. It may be helpful to bring a snack, a toy, or something that will help ease your child’s mind during the visit.
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle,” “pull,” “drill,” or “hurt.” Our pediatric dentists and staff make a practice of using words that convey the same message without frightening your child.
If you have other kids, it’s best if you’re able to leave them with someone else or possibly even bring another adult with you to the appointment so that you can focus solely on your child’s oral health.
During the Visit
The first thing we’ll do during the visit is spend a few minutes getting to know you and your child and discuss what we’ll be doing. After everyone is acclimated, we’ll perform a gentle examination of your child’s mouth. During this examination, we’ll look for any signs of tooth decay. This can help us prevent — or even reverse — the early stages of tooth decay without the need for drilling.
After the examination, we’ll go over various ways to keep your child’s oral health at it’s optimal level. We’ll discuss oral hygiene tips, proper dieting and nutrition, and the best ways to prevent tooth decay. If any treatments are needed, we’ll explain what they are, how they’re performed, and why we recommend them. At the end of the appointment, we’ll schedule a follow-up visit in six months.