It seems like just yesterday that you gave birth, and you had this tiny, little infant. Now, all your friends with kiddos the same age are talking about dental visits, and your child does not even have teeth yet! What do you do?
The American Pediatric Association and the American Dental Association have long recommended a child be seen by a dentist by the age of one (or when their first tooth comes in). You are probably thinking “there is no WAY my child will cooperate for a dental visit”. You are probably correct! The initial, routine visits for an infant/toddler in the dental office are as much, if not more, for the parents than the child! These visits are spent going over the home routine you have for your child, going over nutrition, and answering questions you may have.
The biggest reason for such an early timeline for a child’s first visit is for the child to develop a strong level of trust with their dentist and dental team! When we see them young, there are usually no issues! This means there can, potentially, be years and years of visits like this! We all know that it only takes one, less than ideal, experience to tarnish a person’s view of something. How many times have you heard about a bad experience someone has had?
This brings us to the actual first visit for your child……..If you, or any other family member, has had a bad experience in the past……..DO NOT TALK ABOUT THIS WITH OR AROUND YOUR CHILD! That experience is YOUR experience, NOT theirs! When talk like this occurs, it can instill an unnecessary fear in them. That should be that last thing you would want. There is absolutely NO reason for a child to be fearful of the dentist before they even come in for the first time.
For their first appointment, it is equally important to choose an appointment time that is best for your child, even if it means an inconvenience in your schedule. The last thing your child wants is an appointment that would normally be during their nap time or eating time! The best time for them will set the appointment up to be the absolute most successful.
When your child is seen at our office, you are always welcome to come back with them to watch, and especially be there when Dr. Hannah is examining their teeth. (the only time you will not be able to be right in the room is if/when we take x-rays).
During your child’s first visit, we will let them ride in “our special chair” going up and down and backwards! We will also show them our “special air and water machine”. We always start by showing them what it would feel like on their finger! We also show them our special toothbrush on their finger as well and explain to them how this toothbrush helps to get all the “sugar bugs” away from their teeth. Some children, as young as one, will let us accomplish all these things. For other children, it takes a few more appointments to build that trust. For those little ones, we will demonstrate brushing with the toothbrush they get to take home!
When your little one is a good helper for us, they get to visit our treasure chest on the way out from their appointment. They will get to pick two prizes to take home with them! This is something they will have to look forward to at each and every appointment they have with us!
If you have a little one between the age of one or two, who has not seen a dentist for the first time, please give our office a call! We would love nothing more than to be your ENTIRE family dentist! There is nothing better than minimizing the number of different places that need to be visited!
One of our greatest honors and joys is watching our littlest patients grow up into amazing adults! We have the honor of seeing the children of children in this office now! Generational dentistry is the best!