With the recommendation that a child's first dental visit should be by 18 months of age, what should you expect from the dentist and child at their first dental visit?
For infants and toddlers, the dental staff members will greet the child in a playful complimentary manner. The parent and child will be escorted into the treatment area, and be introduced to the dentist or hygienist. In our office, all young children under the age of three will be treated on the parent's lap. The parent is positioned on the dental chair facing the dentist, and the child is positioned on their lap also facing the dentist. After talking to the child, the dentist will tell the child what will be done in terms they can understand, then show the child the fun dental toys that are used.
An oral dental examination is accomplished evaluating the teeth present, the development of the jaw, gums and soft tissues. An explanation of proper age-related oral hygiene and nutrition and dental health will be discussed. This first dental experience is a new one for the child; with the proper orchestration this can be a very positive and even fun visit. At times, the child may be a bit fussy and fidgety. This is no different than a response when a baby sitter arrives or sitting for a picture-taking session at the mall. This is usually short-lived. In the majority of cases it is actually a fun visit where parents can't believe the positive experience.
If an older child should try to avoid the experience, as a parent, stay calm and supportive, use positive terms, and follow the lead of the dental staff. You can help us make your child's first visit a successful experience. Please feel at ease and relaxed, as any dental anxiety on your part will be transferred to your child. Tell your child that we will count their teeth, show how to brush your teeth, and possibly take a picture. Please avoid any mention of fear provoking terms such as hurt, drill, pull and needle. During the visit, try not to compete with the talking of the dentist as it gives the child two people to listen to and divides their attention.
With older children, the parents escort the child into the treatment area and stay in the rear or side as a silent bystander, giving physical support to the child by their presence and showing confidence in the provider by giving them the control over the treatment. At times, a child may react more positively with the parent out of sight, while others will behave better when the parent is present. The dentist is constantly evaluating the situation and will make treatment recommendations. Our staff takes pride in developing positive attitudes toward the dental experience for all of our patients. If there is anything that would be helpful to understand a child's behavior, like illness, family problems, school issues, we want to know. This will facilitate the successful visit with us.
Keep your family's dental health in check. Call us at 1-866-970-0441 to find a family dentist today.