First Visit

Baby with Toys
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Develop a Positive Relationship

We recognize that every child is unique. The purpose of the first dental visit is to establish a positive relationship with your child and to evaluate your child’s dental health while laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. Ideally, the first dental visit takes place when your child gets eight teeth, around the age of one. At this appointment, the pediatric dentist and the dental staff get to know your child, thoroughly explain all of the procedures, and answer any questions you or your child may have. Along with a general examination and teeth cleaning, we will discuss brushing techniques, flossing, fluoride recommendations, and eating healthy snacks as beginning steps toward good dental hygiene.

Preparing for Your Child's First Dental Visit

A question that Dr. Marvin gets asked often is when a parent should bring in their baby for the first dental appointment. Some parents wonder why caring for baby teeth even matters.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should take your child to see a dentist when the first tooth comes in or by the time your child turns one.

Pick a time that your child does well and is happier and more cooperative to schedule their dental appointment. The best times are usually in the morning or after a nap. Kids do not tolerate being at the dentist well if they are tired, cranky, and hungry, so pick your time wisely.


You can play "dentist," pretend you are taking your child to the dentist, and use a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your child's teeth; then, your child can be the dentist and brush your teeth or their favorite character or stuffed animal's teeth.
If you have dental anxiety, do not let your dental anxiety affect your child. If you talk to your child about how going to the dentist is scary and uncomfortable, they will believe you. Most kids' fear of the dentist stems from their parent/s. Talk about going to the dentist in a positive light. You can use resources such as books and videos; however, be sure the resources you use show going to the dentist as a fun and exciting experience and not show or imply discomfort and pain, such as getting a tooth pulled.

Why Baby Teeth Matter and Why Dental Care is Important during the First Year of Life

Your child needs their teeth for chewing, which is essential for proper growth and development. It is almost important for speech because we can help in guiding permanent into the correct positions

National surveys report that more than 50 percent of children still get cavities in their baby teeth. You may be surprised to learn that dental cavities remain the most common chronic disease in children, more than four times more prevalent than asthma. Baby teeth can get cavities as soon as they appear in the mouth.

Dental Cavities are preventable but lead to pain and suffering when left untreated.

Why Dental Care is Important, especially during the First Year of Life

 

Get the kids more comfortable with the idea of going to the dentist; when they go from a young age, they realize it is not a big deal since they are getting easy visits and cleanings that are painless.

  • Evidence shows that when you find a dental home early in your child's life, the pediatric dentist will teach you how to properly care for your baby's teeth, thus preventing and intervening before your child develops more serious dental problems.

  • Children who have their first dental visit by age one are more likely to go to the dentist overtime and less likely to need restorative or emergency visits.

  • You save money by taking your child to the dentist by age one. Several U.S. studies show higher-cost savings in dental work for children with the first dental visit at age one than those who waited until age three.

  • Early dental visits reduce your child's future dental risk and improve oral health.

For parents, you will play a big part in making your child’s first dental visit to the dentist positive and enjoyable. We always encourage parents to inform your child of the visit and its purpose, but also to take care in how you present it. We recommend avoiding the use of words that can create fear such as “needle,” “pull,” “drill,” or “hurt.” Your child’s first dental visit will rarely require such things, and, even should they be necessary at some point, keep in mind that The dentist is a trained pediatric dentist and has been trained to convey the information in a non-threatening way, helping to keep your child calm and comfortable.

What Happens at Your Child's First Dental Exam?

During the examination, Dr. Abarca will examine your child's erupted teeth for cavities, the gums for infection, and the other mouth tissues for any abnormalities. He will evaluate the way your child’s teeth come together (the occlusion) and check for sufficient room for the permanent teeth to erupt. He will also evaluate the effects of any childhood habits such as thumb sucking, use of a pacifier, or prolonged use of a baby bottle. At the end of the visit, Dr. Abarca will discuss all of his findings, and a necessary treatment plan, and any dental issues pertinent to protecting the well-being of your child’s oral health.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist takes two additional years of specialized training that focuses on children. This gives pediatric dentists the skills they need to build strong and trusting relationships with children from infants to young adults and an understanding of their unique dental health needs.

Things to Avoid Before Your First Visit


Your child should visit the dentist by his or her first birthday. Be sure to inform your child of the visit and its purpose, but take care in how you present it. Avoid using words that cause fear such as “needle”, “pull”, “drill”, or “hurt.” The first visit rarely requires such things, and, even should they be necessary at some point, keep in mind that Dr. Marvin is trained to convey the information in a non-threatening way, helping to keep your child calm and comfortable.

 

  • Do not over-prepare your child for the dental visit. Tell them on the day of the appointment that way there is no time for anxiety to build up.

  • Do not surprise your child by not telling them about the dental visit at all and letting your child find out they are going to the dentist when they arrive.

  • Do not talk about shots, pain, or discomfort. When you take your child to the zoo, you do not discuss the dangerous animals and how they can kill and eat you, so please do not discuss the uncomfortable aspects of the dental visit. Your child's pediatric dentist and the team have a better vocabulary to explain to your child what is going on, vocabulary that is friendlier and less threatening.


If you are looking for a pediatric dentist for your child or have any questions, please stop by our dental office to learn more and get a tour!

Are Primary Teeth Important?

Healthy primary teeth are important for many reasons:
 

  • Teeth facilitate proper chewing, enabling good nutrition, and assist in developing speech. 

  • We are often asked, “Why put fillings in baby teeth when they will fall out anyway?” Baby teeth have two stages of "falling out." Front teeth fall out between 6 years to 9 years old, and the molars (back teeth) fall out between 10 years to 12 years old

  • A beautiful smile enhances self confidence regardless of age.
     

When Should My Child Have his/her First Dental Visit?


Your child should visit the dentist by their first birthday. Be sure to inform your child of the visit and its purpose, but take care in how you present it. Most families bring children to our clinic around one-years of age, and this promotes a routine for a cavity-free life!