Your Child’s First Visit
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the first dental visit should be 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth, or by the time the child is 1 year old. Although the idea of an early dental visit is still surprising to many parents, the infant visit is endorsed by leading national public health groups.
The first dental visit is focused on learning about your child’s oral health and how to best care for your child’s unique needs. It is about establishing a relationship with your pediatric dentist and having your questions answered. We cover many subjects during your child’s first dental visit, including:
- How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth
- Appropriate use of fluoride for your child
- About oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking
- Ways to prevent oral and facial accidents and trauma
- Teething and developmental milestones
- The relationship between diet and oral health
- About early childhood cavities
More than 1 out of 4 children in the United States have cavities by the age of 4 years old, sometimes as early as age 2. One of our major initiatives is to educate parents about early childhood cavities and help prevent them. In order to achieve this goal, we strongly believe in parent education during your child’s first dental visit. We discuss your child’s risk of developing cavities and we also educate parents about diet, oral hygiene and the use of fluoride to prevent problems.
The Oral Examination
Your child’s first visit will include an oral examination and a toothbrush demonstration. Some children fuss during this part of the visit, but most infants are very quiet and enjoy the attention and novelty of the first visit.
During the oral examination, Dr. Adams will examine your child’s mouth, in a way that is most comfortable for you and your child. Our staff will demonstrate how to clean your child’s teeth and give you a chance to practice (or this may be done on a dental model if your child is apprehensive).
Teeth Cleaning and Fluoride Treatment
We may also clean your child’s teeth, particularly if your child’s teeth have a stain that commonly occurs in infants. If your child has a higher risk of developing cavities, our doctor may also apply a topical fluoride preparation. This will help inhibit the development of caries (cavities).
Before leaving the office, you should have a clear idea about your child’s development, appropriate home care and your responsibilities. You should also have all your questions answered and have a clear idea about what you and Dr. Adams can do collaboratively to ensure your child has excellent oral health.
Preparing for the First Dental Visit
The best way to prepare for your child’s first dental visit is to consider what you want and need to know, and to think about all your questions beforehand. If possible, ask another adult to come with you to the visit. You want to be free to talk comfortably with Dr. Adams and the staff.
In order to focus attention on your child, it is best to not bring other children along for the first visit. You might also bring along a favorite toy, blanket or other familiar object that helps your child know that the dental office is a comfortable and safe place.
To save time and make the first visit easier, our office would be happy to mail you all the office forms you will need or you can print them from our website. The forms may offer the chance to list questions or concerns you may want to discuss at the visit.