When & What Is My Child’s First “Regular” Visit?
Pediatric dentists, similar to pediatricians, monitor growth and development from infancy through the teenage years. This begins with your child’s first dental visit. This visit enables us to evaluate potential problems related to your child as well as introduce you and your child to proper oral hygiene and dietary practices for a healthy smile.
The first “regular” dental visit should be no later than your child’s first birthday. We will gently examine your child’s teeth, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development. X-rays may be taken to check for decay and evaluate the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums. We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth and discuss dietary information we feel is important in preventing tooth decay! Our goal is a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles for your child!
Your child’s upcoming appointment in our office is a very important one. We want your child’s first appointment to be a pleasant one. You can help by mentioning that you are coming to visit your friend, Dr. C, and we will take a special look at his/her teeth and may take some special pictures of them. Beyond this, it is best to only respond to the child’s questions. Providing unrequested information often tends to build anxiety rather than alleviate it.
To help ensure a positive experience for your child, please avoid fearful stories and anxiety producing words such as “hurt”, “pain”, “pull”, and “shot.” Children who visit the dentist with preconceived negative notions will have reason to fear the visit. Your child can easily pick up on your anxieties or past dental fears and express it as their own. We will explain everything to your child in a nonthreatening manner using terms they can understand. Should your child have questions about their appointment, reassure them we will explain all procedures and will answer his/her questions at their appointment. You play a big part in preparing your child for their appointment, expect them to do well and they will!
If your child is over 18 months old, we ask that you allow them to accompany our staff through the dental experience and that you remain in the reception room. We are all highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety. Separation anxiety is not uncommon among children, so please try not to be concerned if your child experiences some age appropriate negative behavior (preschoolers are often pre-cooperative). This is normal, age appropriate and will soon diminish. We have learned that we can establish a direct and close relationship more quickly with your child when you remain in the reception room. Our goal is to gain your child’s confidence and help him/her to overcome any apprehension. Studies and experience have shown most children react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed for children. This also allows Dr. Commarato the opportunity to evaluate a child’s behavior and reactions in the dental environment in order to discuss with you options should treatment for cavities be necessary.
A parent or legal guardian must be present for the first visit. Reassure your child you will be waiting for them after their visit and that you picked our office because we are going to take great care of them and make their visit fun.
After the examination, your child’s dental health and needs will be discussed with you. Fillings and other non-diagnostic treatment are not done at the first visit. This is for two reasons: First, we would like to introduce our dental office to your child as friendly, non-threatening place and to dispel some possible fears they may have held before coming for the first time. The positive foundation built from the first visit will make subsequent appointments much easier for them. Second, prior to your child’s exam we do not know beforehand what treatment your child might require. We want to get to know you and your child so we can tailor their future appointments to their individual needs.
What to bring:
1. If your child is covered by dental insurance, please bring this insurance card to the appointment.
2. To provide proper and complete care, we will need you to complete the registration form (patient medical history and dental history) prior to the first appointment. We encourage you to complete them ahead of time as you will have less to do when you arrive at our office. This form can be found under the ‘Patient Registration’ tab on our website, www.DrCkidsmiles.com. You may also complete this in our office by coming 15 minutes prior to your appointment time.
A word about our staff… Each of our office personnel have been specially trained in the unique field of pediatric dentistry. Each is a caring individual that will treat your child how they would like to be treated. Please feel free to discuss with any of us questions you might have regarding your child’s dental health.
A final thought… If your child’s is to grow and develop properly, healthy primary teeth are important! While we pride ourselves in the ability to to restore teeth to optimal health, we would be remiss if we failed to provide you with the information and skills to prevent future decay! Education is the key to a happy, healthy smile! We welcome you and your child to our office!