Did you know that the first dental visit is recommended when the baby's first tooth erupts and no later than age 1? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Dental Association all recommend establishing a "Dental Home" for your child by the age of 1. A "Dental Home" is an ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient where oral health care is delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way.
We hope to establish and build a growing partnership with you, the parents and our patients, because we know that good dental health requires teamwork.
Dr. Amante and his team have the experience and expertise to create a positive First Visit experience. The first visit is all about establishing trust and at Culpeper Kids Dentistry we do a lot of educating through "tell-show-do". Many children get scared or express apprehension when they know they are going to the dentist for the first time. All the more reason to start your baby on a lifetime of good oral hygiene at an early age. It is up to you (with help from us) to prepare your child for the visit by emphasizing the positive reasons for good dental care. Avoid using words such as "needle, pull, hurt, or drill," as these sometimes trigger fear in a child. The earlier the child is accustomed to visiting the dentist, the less those fears will be pronounced in later years.
Many first visits are nothing more than introductory icebreakers to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice. Majority of the first visit would involve talking with the parents to focus more on prevention. For young children, especially those under three years, we typically do a knee-to-knee exam where the child sits on the parent's lap in a hugging position and is gently laid on the doctor's lap so he could examine the mouth.
Patience and calm on your part will help ensure a successful and stress-free visit for your child. Schedule the appointment as early as possible in the day, when your child is alert and fresh.
Here is our simple six-step protocol for an infant oral care visit:
- Caries risk assessment;
- Proper positioning of the child (knee-to-knee exam);
- Age-appropriate toothbrushing prophylaxis;
- Clinical examination of the child's oral cavity and dentition;
- Fluoride varnish treatment; and
- Assignment of risk, anticipatory guidance, self-management goals and counseling
Call our office to ask about setting up a tour of the dental office in advance of your appointment. This can create a sense of familiarity for your child and make things easier when the real appointment rolls around. Before your child's dental visit, ask us about the procedures to expect so there are no surprises. Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Another important thing to remember, is to bring any records of your child's complete medical history.