The First Step to a Healthy Smile
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends kids visit the dentist by the age of one. These early appointments are important for building a foundation for fantastic oral health. When kids actually like going to the dentist, it can be a powerful way to set the stage for a healthy smile that carries them into adulthood. That’s why from the moment you step through our doors, you’ll notice we’re not your average dental office. After we give you a warm, heartfelt welcome, we’ll show you and your child all of our cool activities and games, as well as where to grab a drink or charge your phone.
Once you’re settled in, we’ll call you back to one of our child-themed treatment rooms. Your kiddo can bring a special toy or blanket with them or we’ll give them a “comfort buddy” to help them get through the first appointment. We usually examine infants and toddlers on their parents’ laps in the dental chair. We’ll count their teeth and, if needed, take digital radiographs, which are essential when it comes to diagnostics. We follow the AAPD standard of care and make every effort to minimize our patients’ exposure to radiation, including only taking digital x-rays when necessary and using a NOMAD Pro 2™ since it emits less than 1% of the allowed dosage.
After we’re done, the tooth doctor will conduct a quick and thorough exam and review and diagnose off of the digital radiographs if they were taken. We then typically wrap things up with a cleaning and fluoride treatment. We’ll answer any of your questions and give you advice on a homecare routine. Finally, your child can raid our stash of prizes!
Tips for Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
The unfamiliar can be scary. Throw in strangers, a bunch of instruments and people who want to peer into your mouth and it’s no wonder a child would be apprehensive at the first appointment. We always use techniques like tell-show-do, which involves telling children what we’re going to do, showing them by demonstrating on a stuffed animal or introducing them to our equipment and then doing what we talked about. When we chat with kids, we get on their level and speak in child-friendly terms. Our team is upbeat, friendly and positive. We give parents peace of mind knowing that their little one is in good hands and we’ll make sure they’re comfortable and relaxed. However, there are some things that you can do to help make the first visit run smoothly too:
- Bring your child to visit the office before their first appointment so they get familiar with the surroundings and feel more at ease. We’ll give you the grand tour and show them how much fun we have here at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry.
- If you have dental anxiety, it can inadvertently get passed on to your child. Try your best to put on a brave, happy face for them. Don’t use frightening words like “drill,” “hurt” or “needle” when discussing their upcoming appointment.
- Tell your child about the visit on the same day as the appointment. Inform them that a friendly tooth doctor will count their teeth and teach them how to take care of their smile.
- Don’t stress about whether or not your child will behave at the appointment, cry or sit still for the dentist. As a pediatric practice, we’re well versed in not just little smiles but also child development and psychology. We’ve seen it all and know how to handle the situation. Each visit will get a little easier and by focusing on all of the good things your child does at an appointment, it will build up their dental visit confidence.
- Like we mentioned earlier, a beloved toy or blanket can make kids feel more secure, so feel free to bring it along.