Why does a child need a dental appointment when they are only 1?
Because we want to prevent a 2 year old from having decay like this. Both pictures are of a 2 year old patient that came to our office. Treating this tooth is possible, but it is much better to see a patient younger so we can teach preventive skills, or detect decay before it gets this large. Our Age 1 Program is very successful in doing both. We look forward to seeing your 1 year old!
Infant oral health is now the current standard of care. The recommendation is for children to see a dentist at age one, or within six months of the first baby tooth coming in-whichever is sooner. First dental visits are about educating the parents and focusing on prevention of dental decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Massachusetts Dental Society, Massachusetts Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend the "age-one dental visit."
Our office is an Age-One Provider. In the past, the standard was for dentists to first treat a child at age 3. But new evidence-based research indicates that many children already have cavities by age 3, so waiting to see the dentist is no longer sufficient to prevent dental disease. That is why it is now recommended that dentists start treatment on a child within six months of when the first tooth appears, or age 1, whichever comes first.
The first appointment will take about 40 to 50 minutes. At this appointment your child will have their teeth cleaned and polished, a fluoride treatment, a professional examination with the doctor, and necessary radiographs. The type and number of radiographs are based on your child’s dental development.
If further treatment is required, it will be discussed with you. If recent radiographs are available from a previous dentist, please contact your previous dentist’s office immediately so they can have the radiographs sent prior to their appointment. It is imperative that we have these films before the appointment, otherwise, new films will be required to complete the examination.
To prepare your child for their first visit to our office, please tell them that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will help their teeth stay healthy. Talk about the experience in a positive, matter-of-fact way, as you would about any important new experience. If you yourself feel any anxiety about going to the dentist, please do not let them know.
Also try not to let anyone tell your child scary stories about dental visits. If you are very anxious, you may want to ask another member of your family to bring your child to the appointment. And, finally, do not use phrases such as “be brave” or “it won’t hurt” as these plant the seed of a negative experience.
We have found that children behave much better, and feel more relaxed, when their parents remain in the reception room. A child will interact with the dentist or dental hygienist quicker and easier if their parent is not directly in the room, especially if the parent is an anxious one.
Associates in Dental Health provides care for the entire family, bringing together children’s dentistry, general family dentistry, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry together in our Bradford dental office. Families come from Haverhill, North Andover, Groveland, and Salem, New Hampshire just to see us and become part of our dental care family. Want to join us as well? Contact us today.