Dr. Dail and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child's first visit to the dentist be by age 1.
The specialty of Pediatric Dentistry concerns itself with the practice and teaching of comprehensive oral health care for children from birth through adolescence. This also involves working with children who have complex medical needs and/or physical disabilities. Our trained staff can aid your child in feeling comfortable during his/her visit to our office.
What to Expect
The purpose of this first visit is to establish a positive relationship with your child and evaluate your child's dental health as a guide to future treatment.
Typically the follwing is accomplished during this first visit:
Examine the erupted teeth for cavities, the gums for infection and other mouth tissues for abnormalities.
Evaluate occlusion-the way teeth come together.
Check for sufficient room for the permanent teeth.
Determine the effects of childhood habits (e.g. thumb-sucking, pacifiers, bottles, etc.).
May take selected x-ray views of the mouth to locate decay, infections in the bone, position and location of un-erupted teeth.
Review preventive measures such as brushing, flossing, fluoride and diet.
At this appointment, your child's teeth are cleaned and a fluoride treatment may be given.
Here are some simple steps you can begin going through today to help your child feel more comfortable:
Step 1: Keep the teeth and mouth clean by running a washcloth over the gums, and use a small infant toothbrush or your finger with a smear of children’s fluoride toothpaste to clean any emerging teeth. As of 2013, the guidelines per the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry is to use fluoride toothpaste from 6 months of age. See the photo below for smear vs. pea size:
Step 2: Stop nighttime feeding or at least brush their teeth after the feeding. After every feeding at least give them a drink of water.
Step 3: Take turns pretending to be the dentist and the patient. Use their favorite stuffed animal or Play-Doh’s Doctor Drill’N’Fill.
Step 4: Point out how teeth help us chew food, talk and smile. Have them practice smiling in the mirrors so they can see and appreciate their teeth.
Step 5: Invite them to watch you brush and floss as well as to watch you get your teeth professionally cleaned, children learn from show-and-tell.
Step 6: Be encouraging. Let them take a favorite toy. Explain words they may hear such as fluoride, cavity, gums and x-ray. Read books about the dentist, such as The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist. Your local bookstore or library may have other suggestions.
Don’t give up if they get uncooperative doing home dental care and/or in the dental chair for any reason. Our goal is always to make their dental care as pleasant as possible so that they will continue with good oral health habits in their adult life.
How to Prepare Your Kids for Their First Dental Visit
Kids go to their medical doctor since the moment they are born.
While it may not always be pleasant (think immunizations or exams for strep), they are accustomed to the process and know what to expect. However, when it comes to their teeth, many children are entering unfamiliar territory far too late. Around the time they get their first tooth (approximately 6 months), they should have their first checkup. Some parents avoid bringing their child in because they fear how their kids will respond, but with the appropriate preparation you can help them eliminate future anxiety.