First Dental Visit
Prevention, education and early treatment are the keys to healthy smile. That is why it is important to establish a baseline of a child's dental health at age one. It is much easier to prevent a problem than to treat one.
At your child's first visit, it is a group effort of our staff, parent and child
After you have arranged for your child’s visit to our office, we know that you have many questions to ask. We shall try to answer those that most parents ask and, of course, we will be glad to answer your individual questions at any time.
Do you have any suggestions about how to prepare my child for his/her first visit?
The most important thing is not to over prepare your child. Casually mention a few days ahead that “we are going to visit the dentist the day after tomorrow.” If your child has questions, answer them briefly and enthusiastically. It is important to be positive in your approach and tell your child we will count their teeth.
Don’t make any promises of what the dentist will or will not do. Don’t communicate your fears of the dentist to your child. Don’t use threats to encourage good behavior. Don’t use negative words in front of your child such as “shot,” “hurt,” “drill,” “pull,” “needle,” and “cavity.” Don’t threaten your child with work that may or may not have to be performed.
2. What is the procedure at the first visit?
At the first visit, your child is introduced to our dental office. The teeth, soft tissues and supporting structures will be thoroughly examined and the bite will be evaluated, and only if necessary, digital x-rays will be taken. We will then do a cleaning and appropriate topical fluoride treatment will be applied. We will discuss how to remove plaque by brushing and flossing, and how your child’s individual diet affects his decay rate. Everything is explained and shown, by a method known as “Tell, Show, and Do.”
If you have an emergency appointment because your child is in pain, the emergency will of course be taken care of immediately, and the regular routine visit left for another time.
Please do not be upset if your child cries. Even if children are not in pain, they may be fearful and apprehensive about a new experience. They may be crying but crying is a child’s normal reaction to the unknown. Our training helps us address your child’s fears to guide their behavior. When children know more about the office and no longer “fear the unknown,” they will be willing and cooperative patients.
Even though you may try to help explain what the doctor is doing during the dental experience, it would be in the best interest of your child if you allow the doctor to guide him/her through. When more than one person is talking to your child, it can be very confusing to your child and parents often inadvertently cause more anxiety. We are specifically trained to avoid words or actions that may cause your child to be more upset. Our goal is to overcome any apprehension and to gain your child’s confidence.
If your child has had any earlier bad experiences with dentistry, it may take more than one visit to make them feel ready to cooperate and to accept dental treatment. It is wise to spend time in gaining their confidence and in training them to become cooperative patients.
3. May I come into the treatment room with my child?
Parents are always welcome to accompany the child into the treatment area. The parent’s presence is often comforting and reassuring in a new situation, but this may not be necessary after one or two visits.
4. When will I be told what the condition of my child’s teeth and supporting structures are, what work is needed, and how much will it cost?
General information about the condition of your child’s mouth will be given immediately after the initial examination. Specific details such as diagnosis, prognosis, and plan of treatment for your child will be presented during the first visit.
5. What if I can’t bring my child to the appointment? Can a caretaker bring my child to the appointment?
It is very important that at least one parent come to the first dental appointment.
However, for subsequent visits such as recare and operative visits, if you are unable to bring your child to the appointment, a caretaker can bring your child as long as we have a written note from you giving us permission to do the necessary treatment on your child. Please provide us with any medical history changes, permission to take digital x-rays, and permission to use all the tools necessary such as local anesthesia and nitrous oxide. We will need a phone number where we can contact you in case we have any questions.
Your aim, as a parent and ours, as pediatric dentists are the same – to keep your child’s teeth in good condition, and to make the process of doing so a pleasant one for child, parent, and dentists. This aim can be achieved by following the procedures described above.