We get a lot of questions regarding the specifics of children’s first dental visit. When is the correct time? Why do they need to go at such a young age? What happens at the first visit and does my child need to see a “pediatric dentist”? In this series we will discuss each of these questions. Dr. Janna Civils will also follow up this series with a video explaining answers to the most common questions.
We have already discussed “When is the correct time to take your child to the dentist and why”. Now we would like to focus on “What happens at your child’s first dental visit”
Well before hand you have a lot of influence on the first visit. If you are nervous, your child will be too.
I recommend the less “to-do” about the visit, the better.
Do not say things like, “She is not going to hurt you” and “Don’t be afraid because I am right here.” Also avoid words like needle, shot, pull and any other words suggesting scary feelings.
Instead you may want to reassure your child that the dentist will be gentle and friendly while brushing and counting your teeth. If you trust your dentist, your child will too.
I like to think of the dental treatment room like a trip to Children’s Science Center or other fun hands-on museum experiences. There are loud noises, bright lights, lots of buttons and a chair that leans back. It is actually really interesting. Do you remember what it is like to see through a child’s eyes? The five senses are what they use to take in the world. Attention to this style will make all the difference!
We as well as most offices setup for seeing pediatric patients utilize “tell – show – do” which is a proven technique practiced and recommended by respected universities like UNC School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill. This involves showing each thing in the treatment room with a child friendly explanation and then letting them touch and turn it on.
Now we are to the actual appointment. You have not told your child that if they do not sit still that I will give them a shot, but you have reassured your little one. You have told them that Dr. Dentist is nice, fun, and will take care of you.
During the appointment we will:
- Spend time familiarizing each part of the room. 1) Mr. Thirsty 2) Air/Water 3) Flashlight 4) Taking Pictures of the teeth (Radiographs)
- Review dental education addressing important topics like diet, thumbsucking, teething and what to do if your child sustains trauma to the face and mouth.
- Ask lots of questions to establish your child’s risk for developing dental cavities.
For example: Fluoride in you drinking water and that your main caregivers take care of their teeth greatly reduce your child’s risk.
Additionally we will:
- Take a picture to remember this first visit for you to take home
- Tooth brushing technique
- Diet changes to decrease sugar bug parties
- A felt board story that is designed for children interaction: The Story of Mikey the Molar
- Finally you will leave with an individualized plan of prevention and resource for trauma, needed referrals and plan for treatment if every required.
Drs. David and Janna Civils
1114 Magnolia Street