Our office, as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends that your child visit the dentist by his or her first birthday, or when the first tooth erupts - whichever comes first.
You can prepare your child for a successful first dental visit by reviewing fun books and videos about what to expect during a dental appointment. Check out this link to a fun clip of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood featuring a visit to the dentist.
Please keep discussions with your child positive and age-appropriate. If you'd like some help explaining the appointment to your child, please give us a call and our staff would be glad to provide some tips. One way to convey good feelings to your little one about dental visits is to remind the child that going to the dentist is a sign that he or she is “growing up.” Using appropriate phrases is the key to a successful appointment.
For example, please do not tell your child that the “dentist will not hurt,” because that may never have entered his or her mind. Also, do not use words like “needle, shot, pull, drill,” or any other words that suggest unpleasantness. Even adults can get anxious when such words are used!
Our highly specialized staff makes a practice of using words that convey the same message but are pleasant and non-frightening to children. They will be able to explain to the child what to expect during each step of the appointment, in terms he or she can understand in an environment designed especially for young ones.
Children Under Age Three
For children under age 3, we will generally bring you and your child back to our consultation room so that we may discuss your child’s dietary and oral hygiene habits, health and dental history. We like to keep these appointments fairly simple to allow your child to become familiar with a dental environment. We will perform a “lap exam”, where your child will sit or lay in your lap so that we may “count” the teeth together, complete an exam, and brush the teeth.
Children Three and Older
If your child is 3 or older, we ask that you allow one of our friendly, highly specialized staff to accompany your child through the dental visit while the parent remains in the waiting area. Our doctors strongly believe that this allows them and our staff to focus on building a relationship with your child and making the appointment specifically about your little one. However, parents are welcome to accompany their child.
Our goal is to grow confidence in your child, which can be accomplished when our undivided attention is on the patient. After the appointment, we will review the findings with you and encourage candid discussion of any treatment needs, any questions you may have, etc., in our consultation room while your son or daughter is playing comfortably in our game room!