The First Dental Visit
We strive to make the first visit enjoyable and fun for your child. After all, the first visit sets them up for a lifetime of dental experiences, and we want to form a positive association. A lot of parents worry about the first dental visit for their child. We understand your concerns, and work very hard to make the first dental appointment for your child a happy one. We spend a lot of time at all our appointments talking to the children and explaining to the children what to expect. We utilize a concept called “tell-show-do,” which means we tell the child what we are going to do, we show them what we are going to do, and then we slowly, with no surprises, do what we said. Most children respond very well to this approach, and are very pleased and proud of themselves for their achievements.
With our younger children, typically those under age three, we bring the parent back with the child, and give the child a tour of our fun office on our way to the exam chair. We often do the exam and cleaning with the child sitting on the parents lap in a “knee to knee” position. This helps children feel more at ease, and the parents can see what we are looking at during the exam.
During this first appointment we screen for any cavities or high risk areas on the teeth. We do a cleaning and discuss the best approach for brushing your child’s teeth based your child’s unique needs, and we discuss when to start flossing. We discuss preventive tips, diet and caries risk, and any habits like pacifier or thumb sucking.
Some kids fuss during the exam, which is an age appropriate response to new experiences. Other kids are relaxed and sail right through the appointment. We are prepared and well-trained for either reaction.
Many children over the age of three are ready to enjoy sitting in our “big kid” dental chair, where they can lean back and watch a movie playing from a screen on the ceiling. We always invite parents back for the exam, so we can discuss any specific concerns you have.
We do a thorough oral and dental exam, and use a soft “spin” brush to do the cleaning. We review oral hygiene instructions with every child and parent based on what we see during the exam. We discuss risk factors for decay, and screen for any orthodontic (braces) issues. We individualize our exam for each child, and customize the cleanings we offer, and the radiographs that we take, accordingly.
Tips for the First Dental Exam
Here are some tips to make the first dental appointment a success:
- Focus on the positive! Talk about the fun stuff our office has. We have video games and toys in the waiting room, TV’s on the ceilings, prizes for the kids at the end.
- At the appointment, try to let our team explain what we are doing. It can be very tempting to want to help to explain things to your child as we do them. Try to let us explain to your child… it will help them to build their trust in us, and we have special kid-friendly words that we use to describe everything.
- If you have any special concerns, let us know away from your child. Maybe your child had a bad experience at a dentist in the past, or has a special fear they have discussed with you. We spend extra time making children comfortable, and it helps to know any specific issues from the start.
- Try not to bring your own fears into the office. Children pick up on their parents emotions very easily. If you are worried, your child will be worried. If you are positive about the appointment, your child will be also!