Coming to the dentist can be a scary thought for many children, but it doesn’t have to be. It is wise to inform your child they will be coming to see the dentist. During this visit we will likely perform an exam, clean their teeth, and apply a fluoride varnish to their teeth; we may also take radiographs if applicable. Many times we will use more age appropriate language to convey to your child what we will be doing. Role playing with your child in advance of the appointment can help make this a pleasant experience for them. During your first visit, you will be introduced to our Pediatric Dental Team, given an office tour and discuss your child’s unique smile and ways to keep it beautiful for years to come.
Oral hygiene instructions will also be given with suggestions to help your child care for their own teeth. In most cases, we will also clean their teeth on this visit, and provide an evaluation that will outline any existing dental problems and proposed treatment.
With young children this can be explained as “counting your teeth,” “brushing your teeth with a special tickling toothbrush,” “painting vitamins on your teeth to make them strong,” and “taking pictures of your teeth.” Role playing these activities with young children prior to your visit may also make the appointment easier for them. Many children can form views of the dentist from what they have seen/heard in their parents, friends or siblings. It’s best to start off with being positive, and excited about this first visit to help them start on the right foot. We believe that parents have a huge responsibility in their children’s oral health. Because of this, we always invite parents to come back to the exam room with their children and share the experience.
Just like some words can have a positive impact, others can carry a negative impact with them. Certain negative words should be avoided prior to, or even during the dental visit. Avoiding words like “drill, shot, yank, pull, hold down, etc” will allow all children to better familiarize to this new environment. We believe in being honest with every patient, but we find that using different, developmental and child appropriate terms greatly helps to allay fears.
In accordance with the AAPD(American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) and the ADA (American Dental Association) we endorse that a children see a dentist by age one. This is done to establish a dental home and begin to build that relationship that creates trust over time. Early preventative visits are easy for patients and have been shown to be a cost savings to parents over time. This also helps foster positive dental attitudes and healthy habits early in life.