Visiting the dentist is just one of the many milestones you’ll get to experience with your child. To get ready for your first dental visit at Jenkins & LeBlanc, here’s what you can expect.
First Tooth, First Visit
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that visits to the dentist begin for children sometime around the time they get their first tooth, and/or their first birthday. The first visit is not typically very involved, but each visit allows your child to get accustomed to the routine of seeing the dentist and dental staff regularly. The more positive experiences your child has, the more comfortable he/she will be with having regular dental care.
Tooth decay can occur as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. It is important to address decay on primary teeth as they could mean a higher risk of decay to the permanent decay. If decay is severe, it can harm the child’s overall health and even lead to infection.
If you have concerns regarding your child’s apprehension to their first dental visit, it may help to have them scheduled for a family tour at one of our locations throughout the Kansas City metro. The family tour is an opportunity for your child to get familiar with the setting of our office without the anxiety of an examination and meet our friendly staff.
What To Expect at Your First Visit with The Dentist
At the first dental visit, your child will be introduced to our practice, doctors, and hygienists. The first dental visit is typically shorter and involves very little treatment.
Upon check-in, we will gather information about your family and your child’s health history. Providing us with ample information regarding your child’s health history will ensure we are providing them with the best dental care.
Once your child has been called by an assistant to be taken back for the exam, we will take your family to a private room, providing privacy and comfort while your child becomes familiar with the office. Depending on your child’s age and development, we will suggest x-rays.
While it may seem early for x-rays, it is an important tool for the dentist to monitor the growth and development of your child’s mouth, teeth and jaw. Due to a child’s continual growth and development, the American Dental Association recommends beginning x-rays at the age of two and continuing every 6 to 12 months.
The x-ray is then used to help diagnose problems inside the teeth that can’t be seen to the naked eye, such as tooth decay, damage to the structure of the mouth and dental injuries.
The dental assistant may ask you to hold your child in your lap in the dental chair for brushing. The assistant will then clean your child’s teeth with a motorized toothbrush and prophylaxis, however, if your child is apprehensive, they will manually clean your child’s teeth with a small toothbrush.
After the cleaning, the dentist will perform an examination, checking your child’s existing teeth for decay, examining bite and look for any potential gum problems. The dentist will count your child’s teeth with them and asses the need for fluoride.
At this time the dentist will also educate you and your child on proper brushing techniques, discuss diet and fluoride needs and recommend oral care products as well as answer any questions you may have regarding your child’s oral health.
Tips for Your Child’s First Dentist Visit
Choose a Friendly Pediatric Dentist
This is likely the single most important part of instilling a confident, lifelong habit of regular dental care for your child. Children have unique developmental, psychological and physical needs. Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty specifically for children from 0 to 18 years of age, including those children with special health needs.
Be a Role Model
If you dread going to the dentist, it’s likely that your child will detect it. It’s important to set positive expectations for good oral health and lead by example. Brush and floss your teeth routinely with your child. Explain that regular dental visits, brushing twice a day, and flossing keep their smile strong and healthy.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Stay positive throughout the dentist visit and avoid using words like “pain” or “scary”. Reward good behavior through praise. Remind them that a dentist is a friendly doctor for their teeth. Go to the park or ride bikes before or after the appointment to minimize stress. Also, we use fun incentives, like balloons, to make your child’s experience a relaxing one.
Time for Your Child’s First Appointment?
We’d love to have your family on board at Jenkins & LeBlanc. Schedule an appointment at any of our convenient locations throughout the Kansas City metro. Get in touch with us today!