Pediatric dentistry involves many of the same responsibilities as general dentistry except on a much smaller, stickier scale!
A child’s first visit to the dentist will usually occur around the first birthday. During this initial visit the dentist will visually examine the child to ensure that there are no pronounced oral concerns. Other than checking for any majors issues and answering the concerns of the child’s parents, the goal of this appointment is to acclimate the child to the dental office and the experience of going to the dentist. This appointment is meant to be a fun introduction to the dental office. The child will meet the doctor and his assisting staff and will probably leave with goody bag and a smile.
After this initial visit, the child will continue to visit the dentist every six months for to sure development is on track. At about the age of three the child will have his or her first dental cleaning and set of dental x-rays.
Some general dentists will see pediatric patients in their office, allowing for the entire family to receive treatment in the same office offers convenience. Pediatric dental offices are specially designed to be “kid-friendly.” Often the walls are painted in brightly colored murals and chairs, sinks and toilets are pint-sized, creating a warm and inviting environment for the child. It is also possible that a general dentist may refer the child to a pediatric dentist for any necessary treatments. If this occurs, the time spent building a relationship with general dentist will help the child understand that dentists want to help and will not cause pain.
It is ideal to have this initial visit early in the child’s development so that if a dental emergency arises the child will not experience the added trauma of an unknown environment. Many adults harbor fears regarding childhood dental experiences.
When the child’s initial experience with the dentist is positive the groundwork for lifetime of good oral care has been laid.