Contrary to popular belief, a child’s first dentist appointment should be about six months after their first tooth appears. Early dental care is vital in preventing tooth decay and is a great way to teach important hygiene practices at an early age. Keep in mind that tooth decay isn’t just for adults; even infants can have it. A Pismo Beach dentist appointment will help to identify a child’s fluoride needs. The dentist will walk parents through what to expect, what they can do to prepare for the big day, and how they can continue oral health care at home.
What should I do to prepare for the first visit?
Every dentist is slightly different, so ask them if there are any special procedures they want the child to follow before the visit. Think ahead and pack some fun, but small toys for your little one to have while at the dentist’s office. This is a great way to keep them happy and calm, especially if the wait to go back into the dentist chair is longer than expected. Begin to read them books about teeth and going to the dentist so the first appointment is not a stressful and strange experience. It is always helpful to bring a complete copy of the child’s medical records, just in case the dentist has specific questions about medication or allergies.
What should I expect during the first visit?
The first visit is more of an informational session and lasts about 20-30 minutes. The dentist should take the time to get to know the parents, child, and address any oral concerns they may have. The child’s teeth will be examined and the dentist will likely recommend a brushing regime that you can follow at home. Don’t be alarmed if the dentist asks the child to come back within a few months. Young children grow so rapidly, including their teeth, and dentists like to have short, successive visits to build trust and comfort with young children. The Pismo Beach dentist everyone goes to, Dr. Patel, generally recommends scheduling dental appointments earlier in the morning before nap times and when the child is the most playful and happy.
What procedures may be performed?
If the child is agreeable and depending on their age, the first appointment may involve:
• A thorough (but gentle) examination of the teeth, jaw, gums, and oral tissues
• A very mild cleaning of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildup
• X-rays, but only if needed
• A flouride assessment
There will also be a demonstration of how to help the child brush their teeth – so pay attention!
How do I find a good dentist for my child?
Find a dentist that has experience working with very young children. Not all pediatric dentists are made equal. A Pismo Beach dentist that is used to seeing older children, may not have the necessary “bed-side” manner to make a 1, 2, or 3-year old feel comfortable. Word of mouth referrals are always a good place to start.
Dr. Patel has experience treating children of all ages. Call Dr. Perry Patel, D.D.S. at (805) 489-4761.