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What to Expect at your Child’s First Dental Visit

Renae discusses the steps involved in a common first dental visit for a child

Dental Cleaning

Dental Exam

Today we’re going to talk about what you can expect at your child’s first dental visit. A common question that we get asked is when should I bring my child to their first visit, what age? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that you bring your child within 6 months of their first tooth erupting, or by age 1.

For the first visit you want to prepare your child, build up some excitement, talk about what they can expect at the appointment. Tell them it’s going to be fun, maybe read them a story about a child going to the dentist.

For the first visit with babies we put them in what we call a knee to knee position. So, the babies head will be in the provider’s lap, the feet and legs will be in the parent’s lap. That way we can easily access the mouth and the parents are nearby, they can be holding the child’s hand so that they’re comfortable.

With toddlers, we can to create a very relaxing, fun environment for them. So, for their very first visit they’ll go for a ride in the chair, we’ll introduce them to Mr. Thirsty, our suction. We’ll count their teeth, let them pick their flavor of polish, we have a TV with cartoons on it that can distract them. They also get to pick a prize or 2 at the end, which they love.

As far as x-rays, we usually try to get those around age 3 or 4; as soon as the child can tolerate them. If we suspect that there are problems we might try to get them earlier. Again, we don’t force anything we want them to keep coming back. So, we want to make it fun for them. Most importantly with your child’s first dental visit, the goal is not to clean every last bit of plaque off; it’s to get them acquainted with the office, introducing them to things, checking for problems, making sure their teeth look good, and just creating a relaxed, fun environment that they’ll want to keep coming back to. Also, we will try to apply fluoride at that visit.

Another question we get a lot is should I take my child to a pediatric dentist? A lot of general dentists’ won’t see children under the age of 12 in their office but, we love kids our hygienists and dentists love to see kids. In rare cases, or some special needs cases we will refer to a pediatric dentist, but we do recommend that you give us a call first as our fees are lower than what you would see in a specialist’s office. Most of the time the first visit will last between 15-30 minutes so not that long, that time includes getting the child acquainted to the office, doing an exam, a cleaning, and applying fluoride.

So, if you have any questions about your child’s first dental visit, please give us a call!

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