According to AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) guidelines, infants should initially visit the pediatric dentist around the time of their first birthday. First visits can be stressful for parents, especially for parents who have dental phobias themselves. However, it is imperative for parents to continually communicate positive messages about dental visits, and to help their child feel as relaxed as possible about visiting the dentist.
What will happen during the first visit?
There are several goals for the first dental visit. First, the dentist and the child need to get properly acquainted. Second, the dentist needs to monitor tooth and jaw development to get an idea of the child’s overall health history. Third, the dentist needs to evaluate the health of the existing teeth and gums. Finally, the dentist aims to answer questions and advise parents on how to implement a good oral care regimen.
The following sequence of events is typical of an initial “well baby checkup” or infant exam:
- Dental staff will greet the child and parents.
- The infant and relevant family health history will be reviewed. To fill out these forms in advance visit our patient forms area of our website.
- The dentist will address any questions and concerns.
- More questions will be asked, generally pertaining to the child’s oral habits, pacifier use, general development, tooth alignment, tooth development, and diet.
- We will provide advice on good oral care, how to prevent oral injury, fluoride intake, and sippy cup use.
- The infant’s teeth will be examined. Generally, the dentist and parent sit facing each other. The infant is positioned so that his or her head is cradled in the dentist’s lap. However because we have outfitted our office with dental chairs specifically designed for children at each age level we have the ideal chair for infant exams. This allows us to position the reassured infant so they can see their parent during the examination and their parent will be able to see what the doctor observes in their child's mouth.
- Approprite brushing, and any flossing, techniques will be demonstrated.
- The state of the child’s oral health will be described in detail, and specific recommendations will be made. These usually relate to expectations related to any oral habits, appropriate toothbrushes and toothpastes, and dietary guidelines.
- We will detail those teeth expected to appear in the following months.
- We will outline an appointment schedule and describe what will happen during the next visit.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your child’s first dental visit, please contact our office.