The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that parents go by the “first visit by first birthday” rule. This visit is important because it gives your dentist the opportunity to examine your child for current and possible future dental issues. It is also a time that Dr. Cat can introduce you and your child to the proper oral hygiene steps. Dr. Cat and our staff will also discuss the importance of diet, fluoride, finger/pacifier habit treatments, tooth eruption and preventive dentistry guidelines.
Like anything new, expect a certain level of curiosity from your child when they go to the dentist for the first time. You can put your child at ease by preparing them for the appointment with a basic idea of what to expect. Begin with explaining why it is important to go to the dentist. And, why you go to the dentist too.
You can help your child feel reassured about visiting the dentist by keeping your conversations about the dentist positive and absent of any fears or dislikes you may have. Children pick up on fears pretty easily. The calmer you remain before, during and after the dentist visit, the calmer your child will remain as well.
If possible, for younger children, schedule the appointment in the morning so they are fresh and rested.
The best way to get the most out of your visit to Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry is to prepare what you want to ask Dr. Cat in advance. Also, be prepared to bring your child’s complete health history. In addition to this information, let our office know in advance if your child has any anxieties or fears you haven’t been able to dissipate. If your child has some stubbornness, give us the heads up before the appointment. The more we know about your child, the more we can prepare for a positive, happy, healthy experience.
According to Stanford Children’s Health, the following are normal reactions to new situations depending on the age of the child:
Much of the first dental visit is an opportunity for your child to become familiar with Dr. Cat, our staff, and his/her new dental home. Our friendly, experienced staff knows how to help children feel comfortable in this new space.
Typically, the first dental visit takes about 30 to 45 minutes. It may include: a full exam of the teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues to examine current growth and development. Your child may also have a gentle cleaning to polish the teeth and remove any plaque or tartar.
The first dental visit is also a time of oral hygiene education. A member of our team will make sure you and your child understand how to brush and floss. They will also explain the importance of fluoride and may offer a fluoride treatment if there are teeth present.
Dr. Cat would like to see your child every six months for a cleaning and exam (unless she tells you she wants to increase the frequency due to a specific dental need your child has.) Between appointments, home care is essential for healthy gums and teeth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is largely preventable, but remains the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years.
Ensure that you are performing the following simple home-care steps and your child will be on her way to a great oral health:
Call Dr. Cat Botero at Li’l Sunshine Smiles at (813) 576-0200 to schedule your child’s first dental visit and to learn more about all we have to offer.