There’s enormous lifelong value in getting your child off to a good start with his or her oral health. Their first dental visit will have a long lasting impact on the kind of life they enjoy because of their oral health habits. We love helping children get started on a life of great oral health at Stadium Dental Center in Jefferson City, Missouri!
When should my child first see a dentist, and why?
Seeing your child within six months after his or her first baby teeth erupt—no later than by their first birthday—is an ideal time for our first dental visit with you and your child. It’s a prime time for us to observe and document the development of your child’s mouth. Identifying potential problems early saves trouble, time, and expense. For example, early tooth decay, teething discomfort, gum disease, and prolonged thumb- or pacifier-sucking are issues that may affect your child’s health and their smile. We can provide preventive strategies and, if needed, effective remedies for these conditions.
How do I prepare my child and myself for this first visit?
We appreciate it greatly when you bring records of your child’s complete medical history for his or her record to the first dental visit. It helps us provide the best care we can.
Sometimes, parents who’ve had their own difficult dental experiences transfer their fears to their children by how they talk to them about going to the dentist. Make the upcoming dental visit something for your child to look forward to by helping him or her understand what will happen during the visit. There are a number of children’s books about going to the dentist. Reading these books with your child before his or her first dental visit is an excellent way to help prevent or minimize their apprehension about an unfamiliar place.
Very young children may be fussy and restless. We understand it’s normal for a child to feel frightened and cry, so you don’t need to worry about that. On the other hand, some children will happily cooperate during their visit. Either way, we’re happy they’re in our office to be seen before bigger problems develop!
What happens during their first visit?
Your child’s first dental visit is a time to acquaint your child with us. Short, regularly recurring visits can build the child’s comfort with us and with our office. The visit should be scheduled when your child is alert, fed, and refreshed. You may be asked to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the first examination. The first visit usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and may include any of the following, depending on the child’s age and ability to cooperate:
- A gentle but thorough exam of the teeth, jaw, bite, and oral soft tissues to monitor growth and development
- A gentle cleaning, including polishing teeth to remove plaque, tartar build-up, and stains
- X-rays (usually not before 4 years of age)
- A demonstration of proper home care for your child’s mouth and teeth
- Nutritional counseling
- An application of fluoride to the teeth
We’re happy to answer any questions you have to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit.
When should we schedule the next appointment?
We recommend regular checkups every six months for children and adults. If treatment needs warrant, a more frequent interval for simple, non-threatening visits can help build your child’s confidence in coming to our office to make it easier for them to have their treatment done. In time, coming to see their Jefferson City family dentist to stay healthy will become an easy, ordinary thing to your child!