Here at West Coast Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend the first dental visit by age one. This is the same guideline recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Why should my child see the dentist by age one?
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Our goal for the first visit is to establish a dental home for your child to develop a happy and healthy relationship with the pediatric dentist early on and so that you, as the parent, will have a resource for information on how to keep your child’s smile healthy as they grow.
This early visit is aimed at preventing common pediatric oral diseases and conditions while initiating a relationship between the pediatric dentist, the patient, and the parents/caregivers. More than 1 in 4 children in the US have had at least one cavity by the age of 4,so often times waiting until a child is 3 or 4 years of age for their first visit may be too late. We consistently see the benefit of early intervention and it is ultimately our goal is to enhance each child’s opportunity for a lifetime free of dental disease.
What to expect:
Dr. Bri will begin the visit by discussing:
- Good oral hygiene practices for your child's teeth
- Ways to prevent decay (cavities)
- Fluoride recommendations specific to your child’s situation
- Oral habits (thumb sucking or pacifier use)
- Developmental milestones
- Preventing accidents or trauma to teeth
- Teething symptoms and timeframe for tooth eruption
- Proper nutrition for a “tooth friendly” diet
- Schedule of dental checkups. We like to see children every six months to build the child's comfort and confidence level, to monitor the development of the teeth and promptly diagnose any developing problems.
We recommend parents ask questions! We are here to be your resource.
The dental exam will then be done in a knee-to-knee fashion, which allows a safe and efficient way to examine your child. In the knee-to-knee position, you and Dr. Bri sit on chairs facing each other with your child sitting on your lap, facing you. You then lower the child’s head onto the dentist’s lap so you and Dr. Bri can see clearly into your child’s mouth and your child can look up at you. She will assess the overall growth and development, teeth and oral tissues. A toothbrush may be used to remove plaque, if present. Depending on your child’s risk for tooth decay, topical fluoride may or may not be placed on your child’s teeth at this initial visit. If your child becomes upset during the exam that is normal behavior for the age and no need to worry.