The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend children have their first visit no later than their first birthday. This may seem early, but it’s extremely important that newly erupted teeth receive proper dental care. At this early stage, we can provide interceptive care that may prevent your child from needing more advanced dental work in the future.
The first visit will be primarily for acclimating your child to our office and team. We will introduce ourselves, explain the kinds of tools we will be using, and discuss nutrition and your homecare routine. At this visit, we can also offer advice should your child experience a dental emergency in the future. Familiarizing your child with our dental office and proper methods for home care at a young age will instill positive associations with visiting the dentist and lifelong oral health habits.
We encourage parents to become active participants in their child’s oral healthcare. During the first visit, you should accompany your child to the treatment room, so he or she will feel comfortable with the dentist and surroundings. At subsequent visits, our hygienist will escort the child, ensuring his or her comfort throughout the visit. This allows us to develop a relationship of trust directly with the child, which will help your child feel confident in future dental visits. We will always discuss treatment with you prior to your child’s appointment, and we will help you make the best choices for your child’s unique and precious personality.
During the Exam
Before we begn any treatment, we will tell and show the child what we are going to do, and encourage him or her to ask questions and explore the “tools” we will use. We want your child to feel completely at ease in the dental chair, and we have found that thorough explanation helps eliminate anxiety. We may use kid-friendly terms like “Mr. Thirsty” to describe the suction. We want to prevent over-explanation, as this could create confusion.
The first visit will include a complete exam, during which we will look for signs of decay and check for correct bite alignment. We will also clean and “polish” your child’s teeth and discuss your homecare routine. The hygienist will show your child how to brush and floss, and recommend tips for kid-friendly oral hygiene products. Because we treat each child as an individual, taking the time necessary to make him or her comfortable and aswering all of your questions, appointment times may vary. After the visit, your child will receive a special prize from the Paris Children’s Dentistry staff.
Preparing for Your Visit
Present the visit as a fun and exciting experience. Always remain positive and let your child know that you enjoy going to the dentist, because he will make your teeth clean and shiny. Children often respond well when they know that other people have had similar experiences with favorable results.
Use easy-to-understand terms, such as “count,” “shine,” and “polish” teeth. Attempting to over-explain or using technical terms will only confuse the child and may increase their apprehension.
Avoid negative phrases, such as “drill,” shots,” or “pull.”
Prepare your child for the visit. Role playing with props such as toothbrushes and spoons for dental mirrors can be a great opportunity to bond with your child and give him or her an idea of what to expect. You can even let your child be the dentist, counting and inspecting your teeth.
Let your child know that when you visited the dentist as a child, you received a special prize after the visit.
Trust the dentist and staff. Your child will sense any apprehension you may have, and this could jeopardize the long-term relationship we want to establish with your child.
Offer specific praise for anything your child did well, like, “You listened really well today, great job.”
Ask questions! Please don’t hesitate to call our office if you would like any tips, advice, or more details of what to expect during your first visit. We want to make the experience predictable and enjoyable.