The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child visit the dentist by his or her first birthday or within six months of the first erupting tooth. Beginning dental care at an early age is important for a variety of reasons. Early visits provide opportunities to address preventive issues that are vital to healthy teeth and a pleasing smile. Dental visits that are scheduled before problems develop can be kept short and help the child become relaxed in the dental environment. (AAPD)
You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. Here are a few tips on preparing your child for a dental appointment (ADHA):
- schedule visits at a time when your child is likely to be well rested and cooperative
- allow and encourage your child to discuss any fear he/she might have about oral health visits
- try to avoid using words such as hurt, pain, shot, drill, and needle
- try not to instill fear in your child by discussing your own negative experiences
Children under the age of 3: our goal for children under 3 is to make dental visits quick and easy. We will provide a thorough examination and talk with you about any issues of concern. With each subsequent visit your child will gain confidence, and trust will most likely increase. (AAPD)
Children age 3 to 4: at this stage we will begin preventive care visits which include examination, cleaning, fluoride treatment and appropriate x-rays (AAPD). We invite you to accompany your child to the treatment area during his/her dental visits. If your child is apprehensive he/she can sit on your lap in the dental chair. When parents accompany children into the treatment area, we ask that siblings not receiving dental treatment remain in the reception area with supervision.
Children age 4 and older: we find that children age 4 and older have the best dental experiences without parents present in the treatment area. This promotes good behavior and confidence. Please encourage your school-aged children to go with the student hygienist while you wait in the reception area. If your child becomes upset or anxious we will not hesitate to inform you. Again, we ask that siblings not receiving dental treatment remain in the reception area with supervision.