At What Age Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend that a visit to the dentist should be scheduled by the child's first birthday. At this young age problems can be detected, treated early, or avoided completely. More importantly, it can help establish a positive relationship between your child and the dentist.
Dr. Simpson will examine your child's teeth and gums, checking for decay and other problems or abnormalities in the mouth. Your child's bite, proper alignment of jaws, and spacing for permanent teeth will also be evaluated. X-rays may be taken to evaluate for hidden decay, position and location of the developing permanent teeth. We will also discuss potential problems such as nursing decay, pacifier and thumb-sucking habits. Dr. Simpson and his staff will advise you on a program of preventive health care including brushing, flossing, proper nutrition, and the use of fluoride.
Tell them that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will help them take care of their teeth. Talk about the visit in a positive matter-of-fact way, as you would any important new experience. Don't let the child know you feel any anxiety about going to the dentist and don't use a dental visit as a punishment or threat. A visit to the dentist should be a delightful adventure for a young child.
Do I Stay With My Child During the Visit?
We ask that you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience. We are all highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety. Separation anxiety is not uncommon in children, so please try not to be concerned if your child exhibits some negative behavior. This is normal and will soon diminish.Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 3 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed for children.
How Often Should Regular Visits Be Scheduled?
Ordinarily, periodic recall appointments, which include an examination, preventive dental education, cleaning and fluoride treatments will be recommended twice a year. The frequency of dental visits will partly depend on your child's eating habits; how clean his or her teeth are kept; and if he/she has a history of dental decay.