Dental Associates

A Child's First Dentist Visit

childs-first-dental-visit.jpgYou’ve waited for it. You’ve looked for it. And there it is! Your child’s first tooth! Now that it's there, it’s time to have a Dental Associates pediatric dentist take a look at it. Visit a pediatric dentist within six months after your child’s first tooth erupts through their gums, and no later than your child’s first birthday.

This first dentist visit will be a meet and greet; a short visit that will include an oral exam and a show-and-tell of all the instruments and equipment in the room. During the oral exam, your pediatric dentist will check for decay and take a look at your child’s gums, jaw, and bite to make sure everything is looking good. Your child may also get his or her teeth cleaned. And you’ll get tips on how to help keep that tooth, any new teeth, and your child’s entire mouth healthy.

Remember, this is your child’s very first dental visit, so it can be as exciting as a new toy or visit to the park! If you express a positive attitude about the experience, odds are more likely your child will feel that positive energy and be all smiles about it, too.

This is what you can expect from Dental Associates when you make your child’s first dental appointment:

  • Convenient, easy scheduling
  • Experienced, compassionate care from your pediatric dentist and their entire support staff
  • Education on the equipment and instruments that will be used during the appointment
  • Demonstration on how your child should properly brush and floss
  • Helpful information to aid in the success of at-home oral health care
  • Answers to all your questions regarding your child’s teeth, including teething and thumbsucking, food choices, pacifiers, bottle feedings and anything else you may wonder about

Making your child comfortable at their dentist appointment

Remember, your child’s Dental Associates dentist became a pediatric dentist because they have a passion for children and their teeth. They’re good with kids. And they’ll be good with yours. Your pediatric dentist, along with the entire support staff, has training in making children comfortable in the dental office. From the moment you walk in, both you and your child will have a lot to smile about.

Pediatric dentists apply various techniques to help your child feel comfortable:

“Tell-Show-Do”: The pediatric dentist names an instrument, points it out and picks it up, possibly uses it to count your child’s fingers, then uses the instrument in the exam. Learn how you can do a similar Tell-Show-Do at home.

Praise: Your pediatric dentist will point out things your child is doing right during the exam. This goes a long way in making a child feel comfortable and having the exam go well.

Distraction: The pediatric dentist might tell a story or distract the child’s attention in some other way so the child isn’t focused on the work being done.

Nonverbal communication: The pediatric dentist uses a simple smile or frown to reinforce positive behavior and discourage negative behavior.

Parent Participation: Infants and young children may feel more comfortable when parents stay close during the first dental visit. Everyone’s appointments, whether a child’s or adult’s, is much more relaxed when there’s a relationship built between the dentist and the patient. With older children, parents may be asked to wait in the waiting area so this relationship can be built. If your child is under the age of 18, however, a parent or legal guardian must be present in the facility during dental appointments.

We want your child to get in the habit of brushing and flossing their teeth. We also want them to get in the habit of seeing us. The more they see us, the less anxious they will be about coming in for their visits.

Calming an Anxious Child or a Child with Dental Anxiety

A child’s first dental visit is the perfect time to set the stage for all other visits, no matter how much work needs to be done in your child’s mouth. Positive comments, an uplifting voice, a happy attitude, and of course, lots of smiles will help make the experience a good one. If you’re anxious, your child will be anxious. If you’re relaxed, your child will be relaxed. So relax. Going to the dentist is a good thing. For your child’s teeth and overall health.

If your child does have dental anxiety or behavioral issues at the first dental visit, your pediatric dentist knows what to do to remedy the situation. Several techniques can be applied to counteract that behavior, including:

Praise: Something will go right. Your child will do something well, and your pediatric dentist will point it out. This is, by far, the most preferred tactic.

Voice control: This usually takes care of any behavior that may be deemed unsafe. We certainly don’t want a child to hurt themselves because they’re scared. A calm, yet firm voice usually curbs unsafe behavior.

Sedation: In extreme cases, mild sedation, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or a liquid sedative may be suggested. This is a very safe and common approach to calming a restless child down for a dental examination.


Lap-to-Lap Technique

Your child’s first visit to Dental Associates is usually a lap visit. That’s where the child sits on your lap, facing you, so they feel comfortable. When the moment is right, you lay your child down backward onto the lap of your pediatric dentist. From this position, the dentist will do an examination, a cleaning, and possibly a fluoride application.

Your child is comfortable because you’re right there; he or she is lying in a comfortable position with their head in the dentist’s or assistant’s lap, and everyone feels better because those first teeth are being checked and cleaned. This procedure is extremely effective, and helps establish your child’s trust in the dentist and the entire dental experience. View an example of the lap-to-lap technique.

The Wisconsin Dental Association has produced the wonderful video that exhibits the lap-to-lap technique. You can find it here, on their YouTube Channel.


Schedule a Consultation

If you’d like to schedule a consultation with one of our pediatric dentists, visit our Locations page to find our dental clinic near you. Call the clinic of your choice and tell them you’re interested in a consultation with a pediatric dentist. You may also Request an Appointment here.

Family Dental Insurance Dental Associates is the exclusive provider of CarePlus Dental Plans insurance. With CarePlus dental insurance, you can save your family money on dental care, even if you already have dental insurance. Use their Savings Calculator to see how much you can save with your existing dental insurance. Visit CarePlus Family Dental Insurance