The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics and this office, all recommend that your child visit the dentist by his or her 1st birthday or within 6 months of the first erupting tooth. The most important reason for taking your child to the dentist at such an early age is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. Dental visits that are scheduled before problems develop can be kept short and help the child become relaxed in the dental environment more quickly. If you've missed this initial time do not feel guilty, any time is a great time to start your child on a lifetime of good dental habits.
The initial visit consists of a complete oral examination with emphasis on development of the teeth and soft tissue.
X-rays will be taken only if necessary and usually beginning at age 6. This will enable us to detect decay, infection, position and location of developing teeth and any other abnormalities. Our office utilizes the state of the art digital x-ray system, whereby the radiation exposure is reduced more than 80% from conventional systems. And in an effort to help the environment, we have eliminated all chemicals and hazardous processing materials from our practice.
Orthodontic evaluations are performed at this time and suggestions are made to the proper guidance of your child's occlusion. Your child will then receive toothbrush instructions and with the aid of a new toothbrush be shown the proper way to clean the teeth and care for the gum tissue.
Depending on the age of your child, a thorough cleaning of the teeth and a topical fluoride application will be completed.
Here are a few suggestions to prepare your youngster for the initial visit:
- Inform your child of the appointment. Tell your child that the dentist wants to get to know him/her; present this visit as an exciting experience for yourself and for your child.
- Tell your child that we will count, brush, and take pictures of his/her teeth. By explaining the exam and the cleaning in these terms, your child will better understand the situation.
- Avoid negative words such as "hurt, drill, pull, and shot". Please do not tell your child that the "dentist will not hurt you" as this may never have entered his/her mind and they may not hear the "not", only the "hurt you". Sometimes the less said the better.
- Discuss dentistry honestly with your child when he/she asks you questions. Be incredibly positive about this experience.