First Visit

Boy_Checkup_1.jpgThe American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend a child establish dental care by age 1. While we realize children at this age are pre-cooperative in the dental setting, a visit to our office at this time can be extremely beneficial for many reasons.

  • Infants receive a comprehensive oral evaluation, a risk evaluation for developing dental cavities, and, if indicated, a fluoride treatment. By seeing children as toddlers, we hope to promote oral health and decrease the number of children developing cavities.
  • We provide parents with guidance regarding many areas of oral health, particularly information on how to lower the risk of dental cavities, which remains the most common disease of childhood – five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Our top priority is to educate parents on topics that include tooth eruption, tooth trauma, risk factors for dental disease, oral hygiene instruction, appropriate fluoride exposure and thumb and pacifier habits.
  • An early visit to the pediatric dentist gives parents a "dental home" for their child. The most important part of the first visit is establishing a familiarity and comfort level with the doctors, office and staff. This comfort with a dental setting will be the bedrock of your child's dental health throughout her or his life.

We recommend that children have their first dental cleanings between the ages of 2.5 and 3. Your child's first cleaning visit will begin with our hygienist, who will take you both to a tooth-brushing area where the hygienist will review your child's medical history. The hygienist will explain and demonstrate oral home care, examine your child's mouth and teeth and perform a thorough cleaning and fluoride treatment.

Next, you and your child will be introduced to the examining dentist. The doctor will perform a full examination of teeth, bite and surrounding structures. In some cases, radiographs may be recommended. For an older child, if orthodontic treatment is indicated, we will schedule a follow-up diagnostic evaluation with one of our orthodontists.

Encouraging a Comfortable First Visit

Parents should not over-emphasize the first visit, and they should refrain from using any words that could cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle” or “drill.” We are experienced in dealing with children who have anxiety, and our doctors and hygienists have methods for explaining treatment procedures in a positive and pleasant manner to avoid any anxious or negative feelings toward dentistry.

We are always available to answer any of your questions about your child's treatment. When treatment has been completed, you will be scheduled for periodic recall visits (usually every six months); at these visits, we will perform examinations and fluoride applications.