Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
Experts recommend that children visit the dentist by their first birthday. Some younger patients are excited to visit a dentist for kids for the first time; others are scared of the unfamiliar. At Briglia Dental Group, we do everything we can to ensure that your child’s first visit is a pleasant experience. From the moment you walk in the door, your child will feel comfortable. Additionally, we are trained to work with children of all ages and make them feel at ease. We are used to the squirms and squeals that often accompany a trip to the dentist and know how to deal with kids in a fun and effective manner.
We want our young dental patients to have happy positive early dental visits so that they will never fear going to the dentist throughout their life.
One of the many things that we do to help first-time patients feel more comfortable is “Tell-Show-Do.” Using this technique, the dentist or hygienist names the dental instrument to be used, demonstrates how it is used on fingers instead of teeth and then using the instrument as it was intended. Still, it is often helpful if you discuss the process with your child beforehand so that he or she knows what to expect. Several weeks prior to your child’s first visit, we ask that you play “dentist” with your child by pretending that you are Dr Ron or the hygienist. Tell them to open wide like a lion as you count their teeth with the non-brush side of their toothbrush. Say, “Dr Ron and the hygienist are going to count your teeth like this and check to make sure your teeth are ok.”
By spending this pre-appointment time role playing the visit, we find that this takes the mystery out of the appointment a bit, and kids come in more confident and cooperative.
Dentistry for Younger Children
The first dental exam for toddlers is often short and informal. Depending on your child’s comfort level, the examination may be performed in one of our consultation rooms, where he or she can sit on your lap. We will get to know your child and conduct the examination, which includes:
- Dental cleaning and checkup
- Topical fluoride application
- X-rays if indicated
- Tooth-friendly foods
Dental x-rays help us to identify any issues between the teeth that are not able to be seen from the oral exam alone. It also allows us to accurately analyze the growth and development of the jaws and permanent teeth. Neither you nor your child should be afraid of getting an x-ray. We take careful measures to limit the amount of radiation exposure during the process and use digital x-rays which cuts the exposure 70% or more over regular x-rays.
There are a number of other issues that we will discuss with you during your first visit as well. These may include:
- Age-appropriate brushing and flossing techniques
- Importance of fluoride
- Caries risk assessment
- Pacifier, finger and thumb sucking habits
- Mouth and tooth injury prevention
- Growth and development information
- Tooth-friendly foods
You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. Some parents find it is helpful to bring a list to help them remember any special concerns.
Denistry for Older Children
If you were unable to get your child to the dentist at an early age, it’s not too late. We are happy to help children of all ages. Even if your child has been to a dentist before but is new to our practice, the appointment will go smoother when parents and children alike know what to expect.
It is our experience, at Briglia Dental Group, that older children react better to dental visits when they enter the treatment area by themselves. We feel that this enhances the doctor-patient communication. Don’t worry, we will always communicate with you and inform you of the scheduled treatment prior to the treatment actually being performed.
Ending the Visit
Regardless of the age of your child, each visit ends with advice about future treatments and guidance as to scheduling your child’s next appointment. Regular checkups are typically scheduled every six months, but special circumstances may require more frequent visits. You will leave the office better informed about your child’s oral health and your child will leave the office happy with a new toothbrush and a prize from the treasure chest. Our hope is that your child will leave with a smile on their face and looking forward to their next visit.