At what age should I start bringing my child to the dentist?
Along with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend for your child’s first dental visit to be when their first tooth erupts or by the age of 1. This is the perfect time to provide counseling about brushing, diet and nutrition, teething, growth and development and any digit or pacifier habits.
How should I prepare my child and myself for the first visit?
At Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry we are here to make you and your child’s dental experience very pleasant and fun! Prior to your child’s visit, we encourage all parents to ask beforehand what procedures will take place to avoid any surprises.
We encourage and recommend parents to describe going to the dentist as a positive and fun experience. Using children’s books and videos can help children gain an idea of what goes on at the dentist. If your child has a favorite toy or security blanket, please bring it to the visit to help your child be more comfortable in a new environment. In addition, avoid using words such as shot, pull, needle or other words that may put a negative image in your child’s mind or create anxiety. We like to use dental friendly words to describe our steps and tools. For example, we call the suction “Mr. Thirsty,” the drill “Mr. Whistle Brush”, or when cleaning your child’s teeth, we say “tickle your teeth” and for cavities we say “sugar bugs”.
We highly recommend parents to keep any negative experiences or comments to themselves and let your child enjoy their first dental visit with the same enthusiasm as a visit to the toy store! But remember, since most children do not know what to expect, it is very normal for a young child to cry or be slightly anxious. Our goal is to help your child build trust with our team so their future visits will gradually become more and more pleasant and this will help promote their independency and confidence.
Please bring along your child’s insurance information and any other relevant dental and medical history and medication information.
What should I expect?
At Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, our goal is to make your child’s first visit as pleasant and happy as it could be! If desired, before you child’s first appointment, we welcome all parents along with their children to tour our office and meet our team to help you and your child build trust and confidence in our team and make your child’s first appointment as comfortable as possible!
We understand that all children are unique and for some children a visit to the dental office is a new and unfamiliar experience. At the first visit, our goal is to prevent any surprises to your child. We know this visit may be your child’s first time at the dentist and we would like your child to learn what we will do at each visit. Before the start of any procedure, we like to build rapport with each child, and our highly trained and friendly staff will show and describe every procedure and instrument and its usage using kid friendly terms and using warm, gentle and friendly persuasion and positive reinforcement. Remember, it is completely normal for some children to react to these new experiences by crying.
If all goes well after the demonstration, with your consent we will proceed on with a gentle exam, a possible gentle cleaning, fluoride treatment and dental x-rays if necessary. The first visit will last approximately 30-40 minutes.
What does the dentist evaluate and discuss during the exam?
- Examination of your child’s teeth while laying in your lap or in the dental chair
- Evaluation of baby and permanent tooth eruption patterns
- Evaluate whether any cavities are present or signs of cavity development
- Discussion on how to prevent cavity development
- Oral hygiene evaluation and demonstration
- Education about toothbrushes and toothpastes
- Discussion on how to care for your infant’s teeth and advice on teething
- Diet and nutritional counseling
- Oral habit counseling such as thumb sucking or pacifier sucking
- Evaluation of grinding and other destructive oral habits
- Orthodontic assessment, discussion on whether your child will need an early start of braces
- Discussion of diseases and conditions such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, and ADHD and its effect on oral health
- Discussion on how to prevent and care for dental trauma injuries
- Assessment for need of sports guard