Let’s Talk About Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit with Dr. Adena Borodkin of Golden Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Minneapolis, MN
One of the questions I’m frequently asked is, “When do I need to take my child to the dentist for their first visit?”
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child be brought to the dentist about 6 months after their first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. If you missed this deadline, please don’t worry. We welcome your child’s visit at any age. We also welcome children of all ages who are new to the Golden Valley area!
Your child’s visit will probably go differently than you anticipate. Our office is designed to create a warm, welcoming experience. We hope your child will explore our educational toys and books and look around when they arrive. We will spend some time talking about and showing your child our tools and instruments. Your child may be more comfortable sitting on your lap for their exam, which is a choice we give them. We invite them to press buttons to make the chair move and to use our “water squirt gun” to have a drink. We will also spend a lot of time providing you, the parent, the information you need to keep your child’s mouth healthy.
Plan in Advance`
With young children, a doctor’s visit can be an undertaking. I speak from experience. My first piece of advice is to plan in advance. Start by looking for a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have an additional 2+ years of training after graduating from dental school in childhood growth and development, a small child’s mouth and how that changes as they grow, and what we call behavior management. This means we have studied child psychology and developmental milestones, so we can approach the child in a way they will be able to tolerate, and hopefully enjoy!
Pediatric dentists also have training and experience working with children with special health care needs. The best ways to find a pediatric dentist are to ask your pediatrician, ask a friend, or search for a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry at www.abpd.org. Diplomates of the ABPD are pediatric dentists that have graduated from their residency programs AND who have passed a very intense oral board examination. You can rest assured we are well qualified to care of your little ones.
Another way to streamline your visit is to fill out forms in advance. At our practice, you can find out registration and health history on our website, or we can mail the forms out to you and you can fill them out at home, whatever is more convenient for you. And if you don’t have a chance before you come in, don’t worry, we can do it here too.
So now you’re ready to go in for their appointment time! What do you need to think about? For young children I recommend setting the appointment early in the day and planning around nap time and meal time. Set aside an hour for the visit and bring a list of any medications or anything else you think the dentist may want to know. If you have other children, it can be very helpful to bring another adult to help so you can fully engage with the dentist.
Questions to Ask the Dentist
Below is a list of common questions I get, and questions that you may want to ask during your dental visits:
Is the toothbrush I’m using okay? Am I cleaning my child’s teeth well?
Should my child be using fluoride? Fluoride toothpaste? Supplements?
What are some healthy snacks to keep my child cavity free?
How do I reach the dentist for an after-hours emergency?
What should I do about habits like finger sucking or using a pacifier?
Are the teeth coming in properly? And at the right time?
Does my child have a tongue or lip tie?
We cannot wait to see you and your child(ren) and hope that this information will help you to feel empowered and have a wonderful experience. Call us any time!