Child’s First Visit

Child’s First Visit

Dr. Sarah Carpenter treating a child - Homegrown Pediatric Dentistry in Spicewood, TX

How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Visit

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that children don’t have the same experience as adults. Things that feel like common sense to us are brand new to children. As a pediatric dentist, Dr. Sarah Carpenter and her team have the unique opportunity to make a child’s first association with dentistry a positive one, meaning that those formative memories of dentistry don’t cause long-term dental anxiety.

When should my child’s first visit be?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child’s first visit to the dentist be before or by their first birthday. We know this might seem young, and the thought of bringing an infant to the dentist’s office can be a little overwhelming. However, babies can get cavities as soon as their first tooth erupts, and these early visits are important for helping kids warm up to the dentist and make future appointments easier.

Patient Forms

  • Read books about going to the dentist so your kid knows what to expect and can reference a familiar story. If there’s a specific character your child likes, you can introduce it that way.
  • Watch videos or tv shows about going to the dentist. Characters like Daniel Tiger and Blippi have episodes all about going to the dentist that can help kids feel better about their upcoming trip.
  • Talk about the dentist and role play. If your child is into dolls or action figures, create a story about going to the dentist that your child can act out.
  • Temper your anxiety if you have any. If you’re upbeat and excited about going to the dentist, your kid will likely follow suit. Make it feel exciting.
  • Bring your child’s comfort object. If your child has a favorite stuffy, lovie, or blanket, bring it with you!
  • Prepare your child in the days and weeks leading up to the appointment, especially on the day of their appointment. Don’t surprise them with a trip to the dentist.
  • Kids love to feel prepared and in control, so try giving your children some options by letting them choose what they want to wear to the dentist, what they want to say to the dentist, how they want to walk into the dentist’s office, etc. Going to the dentist isn’t an option, but there are a lot of choices they can make on their way there that will help them feel like they’re in control.
Dr. Sarah Carpenter treating a child - Homegrown Pediatric Dentistry in Spicewood, TX

This visit is really intended to help your child warm up to the idea of going to the dentist. Dr. Sarah will perform a quick exam and brushing, but the majority of your baby or toddler’s first dental appointment is dedicated to education and simply getting your kiddo comfortable with coming to the dentist.

Full Transparency in Kid-Friendly Terms

Before Dr. Sarah does anything, she’ll explain what she’s going to do in kid-friendly terms and show them the instruments she’ll be using. Even babies and toddlers deserve to know what’s happening to their bodies, and we want to honor and respect their autonomy.

Quick Exam and Brushing

Dr. Sarah knows that this will be a lot of work for the little ones, so she keeps this as quick as possible. When your child is ready, Dr. Sarah will count and examine their little teeth, look at their gums and jaws, and evaluate their growth and development. To make sure your little one feels as comfortable as possible, your child will lie down on your lap for this portion of the appointment.

Dental Education

The majority of your child’s first visit will be dedicated to providing you with the necessary education you need to keep your little one’s mouth healthy and set them up for success. We will discuss:

  • Teething
  • Dental care
  • Bottle feeding
  • Pacifier usage
  • How to prevent cavities
  • What to do in case of a dental injury

You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about your child’s oral health or dental future!

Your Little One’s Dental Prize

Of course, a first trip to the dentist wouldn’t be complete without a prize and a special toothbrush your kiddo gets to take home!

Older children are capable of sitting in the chair and getting a dental exam and cleaning like adults are, so if you have a child who is three or older, they’ll sit in the dental chair. Dr. Sarah and her team have the specialized training and tools to meet your child where they are, providing a comfortable, safe experience while giving them the dental care they need. Just because older children can sit in the dental chair doesn’t mean they should be expected to sit in the dental chair like an adult. Their developing brains still have special social-emotional needs, and that’s exactly what we specialize in here at Homegrown Pediatric Dentistry.

During your kiddo’s first visit, you can expect:

  • A warm welcome from our friendly team members
  • Sarah will perform a quick but thorough exam. We always tell kids exactly what we’re going to do in kid-friendly terms and show them any instruments we’ll be using.
  • When your child is ready, Dr. Sarah will count and examine your child’s little teeth, look at their gums and jaws, and evaluate their growth and development.
  • We will clean your child’s teeth, review how to brush and floss, and give you tips for your child’s dental health in general. If you have any questions, we’ll be more than happy to answer them.
  • Of course, a first dentist appointment wouldn’t be complete without some goodies, including a new toothbrush and a prize!
Dr. Sarah Carpenter treating a child - Homegrown Pediatric Dentistry in Spicewood, TX

At Homegrown Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Carpenter and her team are committed to supporting your parenting journey by being another voice your child hears that encourages them to make healthy choices. As a parent herself, Dr. Sarah will always treat your children the way she would treat her own.

You are your child’s best role model

When you come to the office, try to stay as calm as possible. Children look to their parents and trusted caregivers for guidance about how to feel in a specific situation. If you’re relaxed and are having a good time, they likely will be, too.

If you’re ready to schedule your child’s first dental visit, call your Spicewood pediatric dentist today at (512) 264-0808

Embrace open-ended play to help your child warm up to the dentist

It’s no secret that imaginative play is a fundamental part of childhood, and its benefits cannot be understated. Open-ended, imaginative play is so important for your child’s growing brain. If your kiddo is still struggling with the dentist, it may be worth looking into a play dentist kit so that your child can role-play being the dentist (or the patient!). This can not only help your child feel a little more in control, but it will also help your child gain a deeper understanding of what will happen when they visit the office. Role-playing dentist will help your child process the experience of a dental visit and gain comfort with the process.

Dr. Sarah and her staff are dedicated to making every visit to the office a wonderful one. We work hard to ensure your child feels safe and respected. If you’re ready to set your child up for long-term oral health success, call Homegrown Pediatric Dentistry today!

Not quite ready yet?

We get it. It’s a big deal. We would love to schedule a meet and greet visit with you and your child to come see the office, meet us, and start developing a positive relationship. Your first trip to our office doesn’t need to be high pressure; we would just love to meet you!

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