The American Academy of Pediatrics advises to have your child’s first dental checkup when the first tooth erupts (around age one)
Young children do their best when seen at morning appointments
You probably get mellow when you are tired, however, children react exactly the opposite: they get cranky when they are tired. On young children (even the ones with the nicest dispositions), appointments at the end of the day often result in tears and sad faces. Please, help us make the best of your child’s appointment, make your appointment in the morning. We know school attendance is important, so we will give you a doctor’s excuse for late arrival or early dismissal. Teachers always understand.
The first visit
Your child’s first visit is very important. It may be the first experience with dentistry. If it is just a healthy-child first visit, we will examine the mouth (lips, cheeks, tongue, floor of the mouth, tonsils, hard and soft palate), check the growth and development of the head, and check the teeth and gums. We will evaluate their hygiene habits and give suggestions to improve it. The child will receive a cleaning and topical fluoride treatment. We do not take x-rays routinely. We only take x-rays when they are necessary, and we will let you know before we do it. We also evaluate any tongue, lip, cheek or thumb habits that may influence the development of attractive teeth. Once this is done, we will explain to you our findings and recommendations. Because this visit is easy and we try to make it enjoyable, it helps to overcome many fears that the child may have, and helps them to become acquainted with dentistry in a pleasant manner.
How to prepare your child for the first visit
Too much information may lead your child to believe that there is reason for concern. Children are usually happy to know that they are going for a teeth-checkup. Try to sound casual about it and try to avoid phrases like “it will not hurt”. The words “hurt” or “pain”, may not have even crossed their mind. Let them know we will count their teeth, give them a new toothbrush, and a few presents if they know how to open wide.
Why have a dental visit at age 1?
We are often asked this question. This baby is not yet two years old, and the mom is showing us here how the decay on her front teeth has already started an infection that drains pus into her mouth continuously. Her second molars (two year old molars) have not even started to grow into her mouth. This baby is in constant pain and has trouble sleeping and eating. If she had been seen a year ago, before her teeth got completely destroyed, she would probably still be smiling.
Many times this is the first experience with dentistry; in some other cases, the child has had a previous unpleasant experience. In either case, we try our best to alleviate their pain and treat only the emergency problem to upset them as little as possible. Ideally, we like to bring them back when they are not in pain for a regular preventive visit where they can be introduced to dentistry in a more gentle manner.