A guide to help prepare you and your child for the first trip to the dentist.

big-smile2Please help prepare your child for his/her upcoming dental visit by explaining to her/him that I will be giving him/her a ride on the dental chair, count her/his teeth and that I may be taking pictures (X-rays) of them with a special dental camera. Explain to your child that the dentist wears special clothes, eye glasses, germ masks, and tooth-checking gloves while she examines his/her teeth. (Infection control guidelines and regulations are strictly followed, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), including equipment sterilization and use of disposable clothing.)

When discussing the upcoming appointment, do not make any negative statements. For example, do not use words such as drill, hurt, needle, or pull, which may create a sense of fear in your child. Avoid making statements such as “the dentist won’t hurt you” or “don’t be afraid.”

We recommend that parents visit the American Dental Association website www.ada.org/ with their children for fun and interactive games and stories to prepare them for their dental visit. We also offer a CD that parents can use at home to help prepare their child for their upcoming visit.

Since this first dental visit may be overwhelming for both the parent and child, we may limit the number of procedures conducted on the first visit. On your child’s first visit you may be asked to accompany your child to the treatment room so that I may introduce myself and review any questions that I may have about your previously completed medical and dental history form. It is normal for some children to cry during their first visit, and my staff and I quite familiar with handling this situation. If however, we cannot readily comfort your child, you may be asked for assistance to help calm and reassure your child that he/she is safe.

Generally, a child’s first dental examination consists of a detailed facial, dental, gingival (gums) and orthodontic screening followed by a dental cleaning and fluoride treatment. Your child will also be taught proper oral hygiene techniques, including how to brush and floss at an age appropriate level.
Normally, X-rays are not taken on a routine basis, but may be taken if the need is indicated by examination or past history of decay.

If it appears that your child is becoming overwhelmed during his/her appointment, we will limit the first appointment to the examination and perhaps some oral hygiene education. This approach creates an easier, less stressful introduction to dentistry and the dental office. At the completion of the appointment, you will be invited to the treatment room and I will discuss any findings from and review your child’s oral hygiene instructions. Your child will then be rewarded for their visit with prizes of his/her choosing to solidify the special relationship with the dental staff and ensure smiles.

If the cleaning and fluoride application cannot be performed, these procedures will be scheduled for the 6-month recall appointment. By phasing in each dental procedure as your child is ready to accept it, visits to the dentist are far less stressful and far more productive.

At Collins Dentistry for Children we believe in prevention and early treatment. The baby teeth form the foundation for the development of the permanent teeth and jaws, so any treatment rendered to primary teeth and jaws helps to ensure a better chance for a healthy and disease-free mouth.

Your aim and mine should be the same; comprehensive dental health for your child.

Dr. Nilfa Collins, D.M.D.

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