First Visit

When should I bring my child?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend that your child have his/her first dental examination by 12 months of age to ensure that your child has healthy teeth.

How do I prepare my child for the first dental visit?

You as a parent play an integral role in preparing your child for his/her first visit.  We suggest that when describing the dental experience to your child you do not use words such as “pain, pull or shot” or any other words which may be associated with discomfort.  Introduce the visit as a great opportunity to meet people who are excited to see your child and want to help him/her stay healthy.  Tell your child that he/she can play in the playhouse and take a ride in the dental chair!  The doctor will “count” the teeth and may “brush” or “take pictures” of the teeth.  It is very important to use child friendly terms and simple explanations when describing dental instruments and procedures.  We want to create a very positive, friendly and non-threatening environment for your child.

Your child’s first visit to our office is a very exciting event!  Our team is committed to providing your child with an enjoyable dental experience.  We will do everything we can to make your child comfortable and relaxed.

What happens at the first visit?

At the first visit you will be greeted by one of our highly qualified dental assistants.  She will ask you several questions to understand your child’s habits and needs and will provide you with oral hygiene instruction.  The doctor will perform a dental examination and answer any questions you may have about oral health and prevention.  Generally, diagnostic x-rays are not taken at the first visit, but may be at subsequent visits after the age of 4.

We try very hard to make the first visit as easy as possible.  If your child is unable to climb up onto our “riding dental chair” we may do a “knee to knee” exam with your child on your lap.

Are visits the same for older children?

For older children, it is customary for us to provide a dental examination, cleaning, fluoride treatment, and to obtain diagnostic x-rays. Children’s teeth change very rapidly and it is important to document the changes by taking x-rays.  The information that the doctor obtains from the exam and x-rays is necessary to determine a treatment plan.  Our recommendations are what we consider necessary to achieve optimal dental health.  If treatment is indicated one of our friendly front desk coordinators will assist you in scheduling.

Should I be with my child during the appointment?

We believe it is important for parents to remain with their children during treatment to offer support.  We ask that you try not to be upset if your child cries.  Siblings are welcome, however there are some appointments where having a sibling present may be more difficult for your child.

We are well prepared and trained to help children who have fears of the dental experience.  We also ask that when describing the dental visit to your child you do not use words such as shot, needle, drill, pull or any other word that can be associated with/or suggest pain or discomfort.  Rest assured we will treat your child as gently as possible.

Children can have good and bad days, similar to adults, which can affect their visit.  More time may be required or an additional appointment may need to be scheduled.

In general, we have found that early morning appointments are better for younger children as they tire more easily and afternoon appointments are better for older children.  Please note that there are some appointments that the doctors will only perform in the morning, especially if your child is under the age of 5.