The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics (pediatricians) recommend that all children be seen by their first birthday. Because of the excellent preventive care that our local pediatricians and family practitioners provide, we are comfortable suggesting that a child's first visit to Portsmouth Peditatric Dentistry occur by age three.
Because dental problems can begin early when an infant is nursing at night or sleeping with a bottle or sippy cup, these children should be seen by the time they are 18 months old. The goal of the first visit for these children is to evaluate their comprehensive oral health and provide guidance for the parents.
Also, because children who develop nursing or bottle caries typically get these cavities behind the front teeth, the cavities are difficult for parents to detect until they have become quite large.
We also welcome pediatric and adolescent patients of any age into the practice and look forward to developing a positive and long term relationship with them.
On your child's first visit, it is very important that this experience be as positive and enjoyable as possible as it builds trust and lays the groundwork for successful future visits. After reviewing your child's medical and dental history and discussing any concerns you have about your child's teeth, we will clean their teeth and apply a topical fluoride treatment.
For hesitant children, this may mean using a regular toothbrush at least until they are comfortable with our "spin brush" or perhaps just doing a cursory examination on this first visit. We may also recommend a few diagnostic dental radiographs (x-rays) and we do our best to minimize the use of dental radiographs. One of our dentists will then come in and perform a thorough oral examination and discuss their findings with you along with any treatment recommendations.
If your child is comfortable going back for their first visit with the hygienist then we would suggest you allow them to" fly solo", so to speak. We will come and get you when the doctor is ready to do the clinical examination and answer your questions.
If you would prefer to accompany your child into the operatory, by all means do. We do ask that you assist us by being more of a "silent partner" and allow the hygienist or doctor to establish a rapport with your child as much as possible. And at all times, if you have a question, don't hesitate to ask!
For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult if possible.
If it is your philosophy to not have dental radiographs or do them on a schedule of your choosing, we are not the practice for you. Each of the specialists here have their own children and we treat your children as we would our own, with respect to dental treatment and the need for dental radiographs. In short, we take only what is needed to make a timely and accurate diagnosis.
Parents should encourage their child to look forward to the "first dental visit" but at the same time not over emphasize it too much. Spending a little time reading books together about going to the dentist, accompanying an older sibling or simply talking about the fun one has at the dental office goes a long way to putting a child at ease.
We particularly ask that you not use terms such as "shot", "needle", "hurt", "drill" or "pull". To tell a child that it is not going to hurt when they go to the dentist, immediately makes the child think that "it actually might hurt, otherwise, why would my mom or dad say that?"
Our staff is well versed in using non-threatening, friendly yet honest terminology with your child to explain dental procedures.