What to expect at your child's first dental visit
At Dentistry for Life, we believe the purpose of any dental visit, but especially the first one, is to learn about your child's oral health and how to best care for your child's unique needs before any problems occur. Many dental problems can be prevented or more easily treated in the early stages. It's important you trust and feel comfortable in our office. At this first visit, you should get your questions answered and your child should start to build a relationship with Dr. Dave’.
The best way to prepare for this visit is to consider what you want to know, what you want to look for and what you should expect.
Be prepared to ask about any concerns you may have:
- Tell you how to reach the office in case of an accident or dental emergency
- Give specific advice about regular follow-up care
- Tell you about what will happen next in your child's oral development
- Help you to guard and promote your child's oral health
Please be prepared that your child may fuss during parts or all of the dental visit. However, parents may be surprised at how accepting infants can be when the dentist examines them. They may enjoy the attention and novelty of the visit.
If possible, ask another adult to come with you. It's best if this is someone who helps to care for your child. You want to be free to talk comfortably with the dentist or hygienist and to focus attention on your child. For this reason, it is best not to bring other children along at this first visit. Bring an extra diaper and snack for your child. Also bring a favorite toy, blanket or other familiar object. This will help your child to know that the dental office is a comfortable and safe place.
To save time and make the first visit easier, Dentistry for Life has all the forms you will need to fill out available online to download and bring with you. The forms may offer the chance to list questions or concerns that you want to discuss at the visit.
What To Expect at the Office
The first dental visit is similar to a well-baby check at the physician's office.
At the visit, you should expect Dr. Dave’ or the hygienist to:
- Review your child's medical and dental history
- Respond to your questions and concerns
Talk with you about your child's overall oral health, including:
- Bite (how your child's teeth will come together)
- Soft tissues such as gums and cheeks
- Oral habits such as sucking thumbs/fingers or thrusting tongues
- Factors that affect the risk of cavities, such as diet, hygiene practices, fluoride use and whether others in the family have had cavities
- How to prevent trauma to your child's mouth
To thoroughly examine your child's mouth, Dr. Dave’ may recommend that you sit in the dental chair with your child in your lap. While your child sits on your lap, we may then lay the chair back a little or all the way, depending on your childs needs and comfort level. Dr. Dave’ or our hygienist will then:
- Show how to clean your child's teeth and give you a chance to practice
- Give specific advice about home care, including hygiene, diet and use of toothpaste and other fluorides
- Tell you what to expect as your child grows and develops in the coming months
- Suggest a schedule for follow-up care
Dr. Dave’ or our hygienist may also clean your child's teeth. This is likely to occur if your child's teeth have a stain that commonly appears in infants. The dentist or hygienist also may apply fluoride, particularly if your child has a higher than average risk of developing cavities. These tasks will all be based on how comfortable your child is at the visit.
Before leaving the office, you should have a clear idea about:
- Your child's development
- Your responsibilities
- Follow-up care by the dentist
- Your child's likelihood of having problems with cavities or bite
You should have all of your questions answered. You also should know what you and the dentist can do together to make sure your child has excellent oral health.
Each child grows and develops at a different rate, however there are patterns to look for when it comes to when your childs teeth typically erupt. See Chart for typical growth rate. (Call our office at 817.741.0045 if you would like a chart that can be edited for your memories and we can email it to you!)