What To Expect The First Visit

The prospect of your child’s first visit with a new dentist (or their first dental appointment ever) can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. You can work closely with your child’s providers to make sure that the session goes as smoothly as possible.

It is easiest for everyone when both the parent and child know what to expect. We’ll give you an overview below, but if you have any specific questions/concerns, feel free to call our office and speak to one of our friendly staff members.

We recognize the importance of your child’s first dental visit, and we want to do everything possible to make it a positive experience that anchors a lifetime of good oral health habits. Please let us know about any specific special needs that your child may have so that we can accommodate them.

What will happen at my child’s first dental exam?

We dedicate a great deal of energy and attention to make sure that our families feel welcome at our office, and that begins when you enter the door. We encourage parents to join their children in the treatment room, especially when children are two years old or younger.

Pediatric Dentistry | Belterra Kids Teeth | Dripping Springs, TX

The first part of the appointment is dedicated to talking to parents (and children) to gather information pertinent to their oral health history and their day-to-day habits. If your child has x-rays from a previous dentist, please bring those to the appointment so that we can review them.

We also ask that you come prepared to discuss your child’s oral health and general medical history and bring any insurance cards with you to the appointment.

After this initial introduction, we’ll proceed with the exam. With infants and toddlers, we will do a lap-to-lap exam and brush the child’s teeth thoroughly in addition to providing a fluoride treatment. Older children can sit in the chair and have a standard dental cleaning followed by a fluoride treatment.

We recognize that a child’s first exam with a new dentist can feel a little scary, so we will keep your child informed of everything that we are doing and frequently check in to assess their comfort throughout the appointment.

How To Reassure Your Child Before And During A Dental Appointment

As a parent, you play an important role in your child’s comfort level at the dentist. Give your child a brief overview of “going to the dentist” before coming to our office, matter-of-factly presenting the information. Answer any questions your child may have, but take care not to alarm them.

Parents need to display a calm demeanor in order to keep your child calm. If you have anxiety around dental appointments, your child may pick up on that. If you foresee this being a challenge, think of some calming techniques that you can use, such as deep breathing or positive visualization.

Assessing Your Child’s Oral Health

While the techniques may differ based on the age of the child, the dentist’s assessment is looking for the same basic information during a pediatric dental exam, including:

  • Signs of tooth decay or gum disease
  • Developmental issues with the smile
  • Evidence of inadequate home oral hygiene habits
  • Evidence of nutritional deficiencies

In addition to examining your child’s smile, x-rays may be needed, especially if your child has tooth decay. We will inform you if x-rays are recommended in your child’s case.

All of the data gathered in the exam can point to the need for an intervention or confirm that your child has good oral health.

Common Questions about The First Visit

How do I prepare my child for his/her first dental visit?

Assure your child that seeing the dentist is nothing to be afraid of and note how you see a dentist twice a year yourself. You may find it helpful to read your child a book about a child’s first trip to the dentist. Give your child honest answers to any questions they may have, and consult with us if there are any questions that you can’t answer.

Why does my child need X-rays?

We understand that parents may have some reservations about their children needing X-rays, but these tools can be valuable in diagnosing hidden cavities or identifying other problems with the teeth and jaws, especially in larger permanent teeth, which are harder to inspect visually. We will take all appropriate precautions to minimize your child’s exposure to radiation if X-rays are needed.

How do I care for my child’s teeth?

Caring for your child’s smile begins before the first tooth even erupts. You should be wiping your infant’s gums with a wet cloth. When the time comes to brush your child’s teeth, use a rice-sized amount of toothpaste until your child reaches age 3, then up that to a pea-sized amount. Also, monitor your child’s nutritional intake and make sure they see a dentist at least twice a year for checkups.

When can my child start brushing his or her teeth?

A general recommendation is that parents should brush a child’s teeth until the child is coordinated to tie his or her shoes, around age 6. Even after children start brushing their teeth, parents should continue to supervise to make sure that the teeth are being cleaned thoroughly.