The first dental visit is often a fun and memorable milestone in a child’s and a parent’s life. At Spring Creek Pediatric Dentistry we do our very best to make the first dental visit a positive experience for both parents and children. We expect some age-appropriate hesitation from children around their first dental visit, but we also strategically organize the visit in a way that helps minimize their anxiety as much as possible. Here’s what you can expect from a first dental visit for a young child at Spring Creek Pediatric Dentistry:
- Before your appointment you’ll be sent a link to our online forms so that you can fill them out in the comfort of your own home. It is very important to fill out forms for young patients before arriving at the appointment. This eliminates the child from developing unnecessary anxiety waiting in the reception room while necessary paperwork is completed. This can often save up to 30 minutes on the overall visit!
- We have an amazing, friendly staff who will greet you when you first arrive. Big smiles sometimes help reassure little patients that our office is a friendly place they can trust. We also have a refreshment station for parents to grab a cup of tea or coffee.
- A team member will escort you and your child back to the clinical area. We encourage parents to be present for the first visit for young children. As they gain more confidence you may find that your child eventually wants to come back on his/her own!
- A member of our team will review current habits at home regarding dental care for your child’s teeth and help identify risk factors that you would want to be aware of. This helps our team develop a very important aspect of care for your child: the Caries Risk Assessment.
- Dr. Kennedy will review all the findings of the Caries Risk Assessment with you and address any concerns or questions you have. We intentionally start the appointment with conversation instead of beginning with the dental exam to give your child a chance to get used to a new environment and see friendly interaction.
- Dr. Kennedy will then use various techniques to introduce your child to the dental exam. Using coded language often helps young children generally understand what to expect and yet avoid the fear that is sometimes associated with certain words.
- Depending on the child’s age, he or she will either sit in the dental chair or on a parent’s lap. During the exam Dr. Kennedy checks for early signs of dental decay, appropriate staging of your child’s eruption sequence, growth discrepancies, and provides anticipatory guidance for what to expect in the future regarding your child’s oral health. During this part of the appointment Dr. Kennedy also goes over tips and tricks for effectively cleaning your child’s teeth and will point out any areas of concern.
- The appointment ends with application of topical fluoride (if age appropriate) as well as answering any questions that remain after. It’s important to remember this fluoride treatment is only applied directly to the teeth and does not affect the system of your child through swallowing. Children get a special age appropriate toy to take home and we end on a high note with stickers and prizes!
Establishing a dental home with a trusted pediatric dentist is an important step in your child’s life. Often establishing this dental home can help minimize and even eliminate risk factors that may lead to required dental treatment for your child. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first visit happens within 6 months of the first tooth erupting or by 12 months, whichever is first.
Starting early gives your child a chance to get used to the dentist and dental office. With regular visits they gain confidence in coming and many times their participation and involvement improves at every visit. At Spring Creek Pediatric Dentistry we love being the foundation for a lifetime of dental care and pride ourselves in growing confident dental patients. Call our office or schedule online to get your child’s dental health journey started today!