The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children be seen by the age of one. Why at such a young age? After all, they are just baby teeth, right? Most people don’t realize what an important role baby teeth play in a child’s dental development. Baby teeth are important not just for esthetics, chewing, and speech – they are also placeholders for the permanent teeth. Losing certain baby teeth too early can lead to space loss, crowding, and other orthodontic problems. Additionally, studies show that around 50% of two-year-olds have at least one tooth with decay. An early visit to a pediatric dentist can ensure that problems like these receive the attention they deserve.
Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get your kids to a pediatric dentist that young – you’re not alone! It’s never too late to seek out dental care for your children. One reason many parents put off going to the dentist is that they are afraid of how their child will behave, or that it will be a negative, high-stress situation. Knowing that many children are a little nervous about a dental visit, we will go out of our way to make it a positive experience – this is our number one goal for our interaction with your child. With that in mind, here is a list of what to expect at the first visit, and some tips for preparing your child for the appointment:
What to Expect
Oftentimes, particularly with very young children, the first visit may be nothing more than a meet and greet with the doctor doing a brief exam. We want to be able to establish a relationship of trust with your child in an effort to help them become a great dental patient as they grow. Typically, the first appointment will consist of the following:
- Thorough, yet gentle exam of the teeth, gums, tissues, occlusion (bite), and jaws.
- Professional teeth cleaning
- X-rays as necessary to find cavities between the teeth and rule out cysts and other unusual growths
- Fluoride treatment
- Instructions on proper oral hygiene, as well as what to expect in the coming months and years of your child’s dental development
Tips for a Positive & Successful Visit
- Most children’s fear of the dentist is learned from a parent (kids always seem to be listening more than we think). Treat the appointment like it is just a routine event, without making a big deal over it.
- If desired, come on in for a tour of the office before the day of the appointment to familiarize your child with our fun, kid-friendly atmosphere.
- Make the appointment at a time of day when your child is usually well-rested and in a good mood.
- Avoid using words that carry a negative undertone such as hurt, needle, or sharp. We will show your child all the “tools” we will use for their visit while using non-threatening, child-friendly terms to describe them.
- Some children feel more comfortable with a parent or guardian close by during the visit, while others may do better with the parent/guardian in the waiting room. You are always welcome back to the treatment area to accompany your child, but if you choose to remain up front, that is fine as well.
- If your child has special needs, requires certain accommodations, or anything else you would like us to know about them in advance, don’t hesitate to let us know when you schedule your appointment.
- If your child is sick or just doesn’t seem to be acting like his or herself on the day of their appointment, it may be best to reschedule.
Once again, here at Legacy Pediatric Dentistry, we want you and your child to leave happy with our services and your overall experience. We would love to be your child’s pediatric dentist. Give us a call today, and let us show you and your kids how fun and easy a visit to the dentist can be!