Tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness, yet many parents don’t know when to bring their children in for their first dental visit. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend that children should see a pediatric dentist after the eruption of the first tooth or no later than 12 months of age.
Your child’s first dentist appointment is critical as it helps prevent early childhood caries (ECC) and detect and arrest any incipient carious lesion. It also provides an excellent opportunity for our child dentist to educate you on proper oral hygiene for your child, teething management, dietary advice, and injury prevention.
While this is a huge milestone, we understand that some parents may feel anxious about bringing their child to the dentist for the first time. Here are a few things you can expect during your child’s first pediatric dental appointment:
1. Meet and greet
Setting a positive precedent for dental appointments is a great way to start your child’s dental journey. Your child’s first appointment’s primary aim is to know your child and their dental needs. It’s also meant to help your child feel comfortable with the dentist and dental staff.
You’ll get to know your kid’s dentist, hygienist, tech, and any other team members involved in your child’s care. We will also explain the process and what to expect step by step so you can be as prepared as possible. All this help create a positive relationship and experience with the dental office, which is crucial for your child’s future.
2. A thorough examination of your child’s teeth, gums, and oral tissues
Depending on your child’s age, our dentist will check for any signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health problems. We will also assess your child’s risk of developing dental problems in the future.
Our dental hygienist may also perform light cleaning, fluoride treatment, or other preventive dental care during the first visit. If this happens, our staff will explain what they’re doing and why it’s important for your child. They may also advise that you keep your young one from eating or drinking for the next 30 minutes.
3. Review your medical and dental history
While your child’s pediatric dentist is primarily interested in your child’s oral health, we may also want to know about your dental and medical history. This helps us understand if there are any underlying health conditions that could impact your child’s oral health. It also helps us predict any potential dental problems that may arise in the future so we can take preventive measures early on.
4. A discussion of your child’s oral health
This is perhaps the most important part of the first dentist visit. Our dentist will sit down with you and discuss your child’s oral health, including any areas of concern. They will update you on the status of your child’s teeth and gums and offer recommendations for improving their oral health.
Some other instrumental discussions include dieting, teething, oral hygiene, finger-sucking habits, pacifier habits, and injury prevention. This information is especially important for new parents who may not be familiar with proper oral care for children.
This is also a good time to ask any questions you may have about your child’s oral health, such as how to prevent cavities or what to do if your child has a toothache.
5. Customized Dental Treatment Plan
After evaluating your child’s oral health, our dentist will develop a customized dental treatment plan. This plan will address any immediate dental needs, such as cavities or gum disease. It will also outline any preventive measures that need to be taken to avoid future dental problems.
6. Reward time
Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage kids to develop good habits. At the end of the visit, your child will receive a small, age-appropriate dental goodie bag with a toy or prize. This is a great way to make your child’s first dental appointment fun and memorable!
7. Scheduling the next appointment
The frequency of dental appointments will depend on your child’s individual needs. Our kids dentist will let you know how often your child should come in for a check-up. We may recommend more frequent visits if your child is at high risk for developing dental problems.
Book Your First Dentist Appointment With The Fallon & Fernley Dentist’s Office
At The Dentist’s Office, we understand that kids can be anxious about going to the dentist. That’s why we go above and beyond to ensure your child feels safe, comfortable, and relaxed during their first visit.
Our kid-friendly office environment and friendly staff will put your child at ease from the moment they step in the door. Contact us today to learn more about what to expect at your child’s first dentist appointment or to schedule an appointment.