Our office, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a “Dental Home” for your child by one year of age. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care. The Dental Home is intended to provide a place other than the Emergency Room for patients to go for their oral health care needs.
Less than 3yrs old:
- The first dental visit for those under three years old consists mainly of a visual dental examination on mom or dad’s lap (a knee-to-knee exam). Most patients this age may cry and this is an age-appropriate response. A dental cleaning and fluoride varnish treatment may be performed depending on patient behavior and parent comfort. Digital radiographs are not typically taken unless there is an indication for it.
- The majority of the appointment is spent on anticipatory guidance reviewing tooth eruption timeline and pattern, oral hygiene demonstration/instruction, fluoride use, dietary recommendations/counseling, caries risk assessment, what to do for trauma, discussing when to stop non-nutritive oral habits, etc.
- The goals of this first dental appointment are to introduce the young child to the pediatric dental setting, to establish a dental home, and to educate/introduce parents to simple and effective ways to keep their children cavity free.
3yrs and Older:
- You can help make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. Your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer all questions. It is best to refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. Our board-certified pediatric dentists and staff will use words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to your child.
- A comprehensive dental examination, dental prophylaxis (cleaning) and fluoride treatment will be completed if patient behavior and parent comfort allow. Our pediatric dentists will prescribe necessary digital radiographs (x-rays) to help in their examination and diagnosis.
- The goals of this first dental appointment are to introduce the child to the pediatric dental setting, to establish a dental home, and to educate/introduce parents to simple and effective ways to keep their children cavity free.