When to Start
Pediatric dentists, similar to pediatricians, monitor growth and development from infancy through the teenage years. This begins with your child’s first dental visit. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist should occur at 12 months of age. This enables us to evaluate potential problems related to your child’s oral health as well as to introduce you and your child to proper oral hygiene and dietary practice. With 10% of children having decay by two years of age and 40% by age four, it makes great sense to have early and regular dental visits by 12 months of age.
The First Visit
This is and should be a very exciting and fun visit. You and your child will be introduced to our dental team, allowed to see the office and become comfortable before the examination. We suggest that you remain in the reception room while we are working with your child. Though parents are regularly in and out of the treatment area, we find that we can establish a direct and close rapport more quickly with your child when you are not present.
Our purpose is to gain your child’s confidence and overcome any apprehension. If you choose, and it is deemed necessary, one adult may come with your child to the treatment room. For the safety and privacy of all patients, other adults or children not seen at this appointment should remain in the reception room. Some children, on their first visit to a new office, may experience some “separation anxiety” as they are being taken to the treatment area. However, when these children are introduced to all of our fun stuff and new activities, before they know it, they are finished and not wanting to go home.
With our very young children, we have a special room where we conduct our “lap exams”. The Infant Oral Exam Room is decorated and up-fitted with many things that a toddler would have in their own playroom.
This is where we examine our youngest patients. The technique is very simple and is a standard procedure in Pediatric Dentistry. The mother or the father holds the child on their laps facing toward themselves . The child’s legs straddle the adult’s torso. The doctor and the parent face each other touching knees as the child is laid back gently on the doctor’s lap so that he or she may examine the child. This exam is very quick but thorough and is very non-threatening to the child as he or she may see the parent throughout the exam. The exam usually will take about 1-2 minutes.
During the first visit, a thorough exam will be completed, which includes a review of your child’s medical and dental history. Necessary and appropriate digital dental radiographs will be obtained. This comprehensive exam includes an evaluation of your child’s facial growth and bite. As your child grows we are also able to recognize the need for early treatment or referral of possible bite problems if they occur. The doctor will examine the teeth, hard and soft tissues of your child’s mouth, and perform a head and neck examination. Additionally, we will evaluate your child’s oral hygiene and perform a professional cleaning with a preventive fluoride treatment. We will then determine your child’s immediate and long-term dental needs, discuss our findings, answer questions and make treatment recommendations.
We strive to make this visit a very exciting, fun, and pleasant experience for your son or daughter. Remember how important it is to convey this image. Practicing at home (playing dentist) is great and reading some good children’s dental books prior to the visit is also a good idea.