Your Child's First Visit


 
First impressions are important. Our doctors look forward to meeting your child to establish years of positive dental interactions throughout their childhood and the rest of their life. It’s understandable that a child would have some anxiety surrounding their first visit with the dentist. We want to work in partnership with parents to make a child’s first visit as comfortable as possible. Here are some things you can do to prepare your child for their first visit:
 
  • Explain the importance of dental health to your child, including avoiding future painful cavities and infections, having strong teeth that can easily chew and enjoy many types of food up until you’re a grandma or grandpa and how taking care of our overall bodies includes a healthy mouth and teeth.
  • Tell them the Doctor’s name and even show them a picture on our website. This can help them feel familiar with the doctor and build trust through recognizing a familiar face when they come in. 
  • Ask your child if they have any questions about what will happen and help them feel confident asking questions and discussing their visit with you or our helpful staff. 
  • Use positive words they’ll understand like “speedy vacuum straw” for the suction straw, “princess tooth” or “superhero tooth” for cap, crown or filling, “zoom stick” for vibrating tools like drills or polishing tool, “scuba mask” for nitrous oxide mask, etc.
  • Avoid using negative or frightening words like yank, shot, needle, painful, cut, etc. 
  • Give them choices. Children love feeling in control, especially when they might be in a new situation that makes them feel vulnerable. Some examples are, “would you like to open the door to Dr. Draney’s office or have me open the door?” or “which book would you like to look at while we wait for our turn?”, or “what one special toy would you like to hold on your visit to the dentist's office?”  Children will typically have other choices during their visit as well, such as what flavor of fluoride they’d like or what special reward they get in our office after their visit.
  • There’s always a special surprise for children at Lancaster Pediatric Dentistry. Depending on your child’s age, we will have a reward for them following their visit. Explaining this to your child may help give them something positive to look forward to.
  • If your child expresses anxiety about coming to the dentist, let us know in advance how we might be able to help them feel at ease. 
 
X-rays help our staff understand the structure of the child’s mouth and the pictures give insight into potential issues down the road. Cavities can also be seen on x-ray film and a treatment plan can be better formulated using these special pictures. 
 
The doctor will perform a visual exam and the assistant will take notes. He will count the teeth inside the child’s mouth to ensure the correct number of teeth have erupted and are growing properly.
 
A dental cleaning is the best way to avoid buildup of harmful plaque and bacteria which can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. The cleaning process includes the following:
 
  • Plaque removal using a metal or water jet pick. This should be relatively painless. Some patients will experience slight bleeding around the gum line, which is normal and expected. It resolves very quickly, and it’s likely your child won’t even see or know.
  • A polishing tool will be used next with flavored polish paste. This process conditions and polishes the teeth. During the polishing treatment, the suction straw may be used to remove excess saliva and water in the mouth. The mouth is then rinsed. 
  • Fluoride will be either painted on the teeth or applied in styrofoam trays which are placed in the mouth for a few minutes. Typically, your child will be able to choose the flavor of fluoride they’d like. It may be advised to avoid food or drink for up to an hour following fluoride treatment.
  • The doctor will meet with you and your child at the conclusion of the visit to discuss further treatment and give some education about good dental hygiene. 
 
Educating our patients about daily home dental care is essential to life-long dental health. We’re happy to teach you and your child the best practices when it comes to keeping mouths healthy and strong. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s first visit, please don’t hesitate to ask. We understand it may be an anxious time for parents as well. 
 
A common concern new patients might have is how and when they’ll  lose baby teeth. Some children lose their baby teeth around 5-6 years old, but it’s not uncommon to lose them as early as 4 or around 7 years old.  Sometimes children can be frightened about their teeth coming out. In this case, it’s helpful to remain positive and even celebrate the milestone of losing baby teeth. The tooth fairy is one way to celebrate; hugs, high fives or a short dance celebration might be a good idea to help encourage positive feelings about this normal change. You can help explain the science behind losing baby teeth and growing big kid teeth. We’re never meant to hold on to our baby teeth because our mouths will grow bigger and we will need bigger teeth to eat with.
 

Schedule Your Child’s First Appointment!


 

At Lancaster Pediatric Dentistry, our team will make sure both you and your child have a pleasant experience at our office. Give us a call to schedule your child’s first appointment and start them off on the right foot for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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