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First Visit

According to AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) guidelines, infants should initially visit the pediatric dentist around the time of their first birthday.  First visits can be stressful for parents, especially for parents who have dental phobias themselves.

It is imperative for parents to continually communicate positive messages about dental visits (especially the first one), and to help the child feel as happy as possible about visiting the dentist.

How can I prepare for my child’s first dental visit?

Pediatric dentists are required to undergo extensive training in child psychology.  Their dental offices are generally colorful, child-friendly, and boast a selection of games, toys, and educational tools.  Pediatric dentists (and all dental staff) aim to make the child feel as welcome as possible during all visits.

There are several things parents can do to make the first visit enjoyable.  Some helpful tips are listed below:

Take another adult along for the visit – Sometimes infants become fussy when having their mouths examined.  Having another adult along to soothe the infant allows the parent to ask questions and to attend to any advice the dentist may have.

Leave other children at home – Other children can distract the parent and cause the infant to fuss.  Leaving other children at home (when possible) makes the first visit less stressful for all concerned.

Avoid threatening language – Pediatric dentists and staff are trained to avoid the use of threatening language like “drills,” “needles,” “injections,” and “bleeding.”  It is imperative for parents to use positive language when speaking about dental treatment with their child.

Provide positive explanations – It is important to explain the purposes of the dental visit in a positive way.  Explaining that the dentist “helps keep teeth healthy” is far better than explaining that the dentist “is checking for tooth decay and might have to drill the tooth if decay is found.”

Explain what will happen – Anxiety can be vastly reduced if the child knows what to expect.  Age-appropriate books about visiting the dentist can be very helpful in making the visit seem fun. Here is a list of parent and dentist-approved books:

  • The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist – by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
  • Show Me Your Smile: A Visit to the Dentist – Part of the “Dora the Explorer” Series.
  • Going to the Dentist – by Anne Civardi.
  • Elmo Visits the Dentist – Part of the “Sesame Street” Series.

What will happen during the first visit?

There are several goals for the first dental visit.  First, the pediatric dentist and the child need to get properly acquainted.  Second, the dentist needs to monitor tooth and jaw development to get an idea of the child’s overall health history.  Third, the dentist needs to evaluate the health of the existing teeth and gums.  Finally, the dentist aims to answer questions and advise parents on how to implement a good oral care regimen.

The following sequence of events is typical of an initial “well baby checkup”:

  1. Dental staff will greet the child and parents.
  2. The infant/family health history will be reviewed (this may include questionnaires).
  3. The pediatric dentist will address parental questions and concerns.
  4. More questions will be asked, generally pertaining to the child’s oral habits, pacifier use, general development, tooth alignment, tooth development, and diet.
  5. The dentist will provide advice on good oral care, how to prevent oral injury, fluoride intake, and sippy cup use.
  6. The infant’s teeth will be examined. Generally, the dentist and parent sit facing each other.  The infant is positioned so that his or her head is cradled in the dentist’s lap.  This position allows the infant to look at the parent during the examination.
  7. Good brushing and flossing demonstrations will be provided.
  8. The state of the child’s oral health will be described in detail, and specific recommendations will be made.  Recommendations usually relate to oral habits, appropriate toothpastes and toothbrushes for the child, orthodontically correct pacifiers, and diet.
  9. The dentist will detail which teeth may appear in the following months.
  10. The dentist will outline an appointment schedule and describe what will happen during the next appointment.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s first dental visit, please contact our office.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

You all are so amazing. Rosie can answer any questions I have about insurance instantly, scheduling is easy, I love the text messages regarding scheduling and reminders. Everyone treats me so nicely and gently, that I have been able to come in and take care of my teeth, despite my anxiety. I feel confident asking any and all questions before, during and after procedures and get answers and explanations that make sense to me. I am included in all decisions and planning and feel comfortable to make small requests to make my visit less stressful. A blanket, head pillow, sunglasses, correct temperature, using the quiet room, these are all small things that can help calm my anxiety and I feel comfortable asking for those things because I know your team wants me to be comfortable and relaxed. The laser has been really life-changing for me, in regards to dental work. No anxiety about numbing, shots, drills, it seems smaller in my mouth, which helps my jaw and even the sound it makes is pleasant. I fully trust the entire team that they are being open and honest with me, not just trying to take my money, but really trying to take care of my teeth and me. I always highly recommend Sycamore Dental.

S.K 07/2018

I can't express enough how impressed I am with the customer service and Dr. Gita Sarkaria. I have already recommended to all my colleges because I know they will not regret making Sycamore Dental their primary Dentist. My husband and I will be coming in from here on out :) Thank you!

N.J. 2018

You have to go here for your dental work. Not only is their work phenomenal, but I had a genuinely pleasant experience. They use up to date technology to make the work faster and higher quality. Everyone was caring and were more concerned that the job is done right than cramming in another patient. I cannot recommend them enough. If you want to upgrade your dental experience, go here!

D. B 02/2018

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