First Visit

Girl laughing

Can I be with my child on the first visit?

We invite you to stay with your child during the initial examination so that you and your child may meet the doctor and staff and become comfortable in our office. During future cleaning appointments (over age of 3 years), we have a “children only practice” and require that you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience (please see Office Information).

During the first visit, we encourage you and your child to ask questions and express any concerns so that we may offer explanations to alleviate any anxieties. Our goal is to gain your child's confidence and overcome any apprehension. Often parents are more nervous than their child and nervous parents do not make helpful partners in the dental setting. By allowing your child to have his/her dental treatment completed without your presence, it shows your child that you trust the doctor and staff and reinforces the message that dental treatment can be a positive experience. Most children will display a great deal of pride when they show you how independent they can be at the dentist.

How do I prepare my child for the first visit?

Many parents ask how they can prepare their child for the first visit. You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. If the child is under three years of age, no preparation is necessary, as only an examination will be done.

If your child is over the age of three and is coming in for a full exam, cleaning, x-rays and fluoride, we recommend that you inform the child about the appointment and have a positive discussion about how fun the dentist can be. You may also find a fun (positive) book about the first visit to the dentist as a reference guide for you and your child.

It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. Pediatric dental offices make a practice of using alternative words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.

What will be completed on the first visit?

If the child is under three years of age, we complete a “terrific toddler exam” in which the dentist will do a clinical examination on your child’s teeth. This is completed in the laps of the dentist and one of the child’s parents. Due to the child’s young age, cooperation is not expected. Further dental needs (i.e. x-rays) would be discussed at this visit.

If the child is over the age of three, a full dental exam would be completed. In addition, x-rays, a cleaning and fluoride would be recommended. In order to help prepare the child for the first visit, he/she would initially watch a cartoon dental video about going to the dentist for the first time. Following the video, the child would have standard set of x-rays taken, a dental exam and cleaning performed, and finally given a fluoride treatment. If the child has difficulty cooperating, the dentist and parent would decide whether to continue, reschedule for another appointment, or wait until the child is a bit older (perhaps wait six months). The entire first visit is customized to what each child can handle and what the parent is comfortable with completing.

What if I’m being referred from another dentist?

If your child is being referred from another dentist, it is important that you bring any copies of x-rays that may have been taken along with the referral slip if you received one. It is required that we do our own dental examination before any dental work will be completed in our office. In addition, x-rays will be taken (if needed) to determine the best course of treatment for your child. On the referral visit, we will go over all treatment needs, the best course in delivering the dental treatment to your child, the cost of the treatment and answer any questions or concerns you have. For this reason, it is imperative that a parent or legal guardian attends this appointment. No dental work will be completed on this referral exam day.

If my child needs cavities filled will they be done on the first visit?

If it is found during the dental exam that your child needs further dental treatment such cavities filled, we will not complete that treatment on that first visit or on the same day as recall cleaning visits. We have found that it is better to separate the “fun” cleaning visits from the more difficult treatment visits so the child realizes that going to the dentist can be enjoyable. In the end we want the child to look forward to coming for his/her dental cleaning appointments, and not be fearful that something more difficult might be added on to the recall cleaning appointments.

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