Our team works together to ensure that your child develops a positive, happy feeling about their oral health care. At Smile Practice Family Dentistry, we love treating children of all ages! We know that each child is unique and that there is no single approach that’s right for all kids. Just like adults, children get stressed out in new situations, so we don’t expect them to behave perfectly during every appointment. That’s why the purpose of their first few appointments with us is to let them get used to new surroundings and new faces; we will never try to treat a child who isn’t ready!
We agree with the recommendation of the American Dental Association that children should have their first appointment when the first baby tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday. But many parents wonder why it’s necessary to start treating kids so early. We know it can be hard to picture your precious little baby in a dental chair, but there’s a very good reason for early care.
As your child’s baby teeth are erupting, permanent teeth are already growing in the gums. When things progress normally, the baby tooth falls out and the permanent tooth takes its place.
However, if we don’t start early by taking care of baby teeth and protecting them from decay, there is a good chance they will be lost before the permanent tooth is ready to emerge. This can cause neighboring teeth to drift into the empty space, leading to alignment issues when permanent teeth emerge as well as an increased risk for decay.
Early childhood visits allow us to take steps to avoid these problems. During routine appointments, we can monitor your child’s dental development to see how things are progressing. If necessary, we may recommend fluoride applications to strengthen and protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are another weapon we have against decay.
If you had a negative experience as a child, the memory has most likely affected your ability to seek dental care as an adult. Studies have shown that children who have positive dental visits are less likely to develop a fear of dentists and more likely to keep up with visits to the dentist as adults.
During their first visit, we take advantage of your child’s natural curiosity to engage them and keep them distracted. Dr. Gonzalez will count their teeth, let them take a ride in the dental chair and show them how some of the instruments we use. When we are finished, we will let them choose a prize from our toy box.
When it’s time for your child’s first “official” visit, we use the same gentle, patient approach. During this appointment, your child can relax and watch their favorite TV shows while we perform preventive treatments like an exam and cleaning.