Thank you for choosing our office for your child’s dental needs. Our dentists and the entire team specialize in pediatric dentistry. We strive to provide a positive dental experience for you and your child.
The child’s first visit is important for several reasons. In many instances, it is the child’s first experience with dentistry; in some cases, the child has had a previous unpleasant experience. Patience and calm on your part will help ensure a successful and stress-free visit for your child. It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “shot”, “drill”, or “hurt”. The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child. By doing this, it will make the visit very positive and it allows us to establish a safe and trusting relationship. Schedule the appointment as early as possible in the day, when your child is alert and fresh.
One of our team members will reach out to each family prior to your child’s first appointment. We here at Little Teeth Big Smiles recognize that every child is different, comes into the appointment with different behaviors, styles of learning and respond to different behavioral techniques. Our “Getting to Know You” form in our New Patient paperwork will guide parents through a small series of questions which will help us to obtain key information about your child prior to their office visit. Knowing how to best meet each child where they are will allow us the best opportunity to create an outstanding experience specific to their expectations and needs. We will also gather information on your child’s favorite toy, Disney character or special interests so we can provide something familiar to your child at their first visit to make them feel more at ease. When your child enters our practice, we want them to feel welcome, safe and that we care about each of them personally.
“ A parent or legal guardian MUST be present at the first appointment.”
At what age should my child first visit the dentist?
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 12 months old. Consider your child’s first visit as a “well baby checkup” for his or her teeth.
The typical first dental appointment, also called a “meet and greet” for your child could include one or more of the following:
- A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas such as thumb-sucking.
- A gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar build-up and stains.
- X-rays as needed
- A demonstration of proper dental hygiene and oral health instruction.
- Topical fluoride.
We invite you to be a part of your child’s experience during the initial examination and other appointments if necessary. However, there might be times where the child maybe more cooperative if he / she were to accompany our team member through the dental experience. Our purpose is to gain your child’s confidence and overcome apprehension. In order to allow necessary space for the Doctor and Dental Team to provide outstanding care for your child, only one Parent /Guardian may accompany a patient into the operatory. Due to your child’s safety and the safety of our dental staff, we ask that siblings of patients remain in the reception area. It is our belief that siblings who wait in the reception area and not accompany patients, have greater success in their own future dental appointments.
Suggestions to prepare your child for the initial exam:
- Inform your child of the appointment. Tell your child that the dentist wants to get to know him/her; present this visit as an exciting experience for yourself and for your child. One way to convey good feelings to your child about dental visits is to remind them that going to the dentist is a sign that they are growing up.
- Be incredibly positive about this experience. Avoid negative words such as “hurt, drill, pull, and shot”. Please do not tell your child that the “dentist will not hurt you” as this may never have entered his/her mind. Instead, you may wish to assure your child that the dentist and her helpers will be gentle and friendly. Talk about dentistry with a positive attitude. This initial examination involves nothing uncomfortable and should be perceived by the child as non-threatening.
- Bring only the child that is to be seen for the dental visit so that both the parent and dental staff can concentrate on that child’s needs.
- Tell your child that we will count, brush, and take pictures of his/her teeth. By explaining the exam and the cleaning in these terms, your child will better understand the situation.
- Discuss dentistry honestly with your child when he/she asks you questions. Children listen to your tone of voice and can detect your feelings very easily. If your child has questions that are difficult for you to answer, please refer him/her to our pediatric dental team for the proper answer and discussion.
- After the appointment, compliment your child’s good behavior at the dentist’s office in the presence of other members of the family.
- Please do not tease or have anyone else tease your child before coming to the dentist. We’ve had several kids very nervous even though they’ve never been to a dentist because of teasing in a negative way.