General - First Visit


We ask that all parents/guardians remain in the clinic while your child is being seen.

What should my child and I expect to happen at our first appointment?

Your child's first visit will consist of an examination, cleaning, fluoride application and X-rays if indicated.  Consultation with the dentist, oral hygiene instructions and any other necessary visits will be discussed. For very young children, the examination will be done with the parent in a consultation room.

Our goal is to grow your child's confidence and overcome any apprehension he/she may have.  Although you may try to help your child with their dental experience, it would be in their best interest if you allow the doctor to guide your child.  When there is more than one person speaking at a time often children become confused.  We are specially trained to avoid specific words and actions that may upset your child.  Therefore, we find that most children do better without their parents, and it allows us an opportunity to establish rapport with your child.  

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. Choose one designed specifically for infants or age-appropriate sized toothbrush. You should brush your child's teeth twice a day, especially at bedtime.  You may also wipe the teeth and gums with a damp cloth to remove any visible traces of food or residue.

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

Your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday. This allows the best prevention and opportunity for education in establishing good oral hygiene and diet habits.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

Are "baby" teeth really that important to my child?

Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also guide the path for permanent teeth when they are ready to erupt.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, and schedule an appointment to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful to children's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits are very common. They only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, discuss this with your dentist at your next visit.

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing or bottle-feeding?

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bottle at bedtime. It is also recommended that you brush and floss your child’s teeth prior to bed. See a dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked, as this will ensure a healthy smile. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.

How often does my child need to see the dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” or rice size amount of toothpaste for a child less than 3 years of age. For the 3-5 year olds, use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively and will need parental assistance until age 8.  Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

Make sure your child has a balanced diet. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay. You may also ask your dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.

How do dental sealants work?

Sealants work by filling in the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This prevents food particles from getting caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

Have your dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your dentist may want to prescribe fluoride supplements.

What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?

Soft plastic mouth-guards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. 

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass of milk with the tooth  immediately to the dentist.

How safe are dental X-rays?

Very safe. There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Dentists are careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and digital X-rays are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. The dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.