Your first visit to a pediatric dentist

Walnut Hills Pediatric Dentistry

You have paid us the greatest compliment by allowing us to provide your child’s dental care. We try hard to develop relationships with our patients that are based on open communication, trust and understanding. A child's first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable and positive. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you will feel. Children are not born with a fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Our office makes a practice of using pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe your child's first dental visit and treatment. We want you to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should visit the dentist as early as their first birthday! Check out our link to the AAPD on our homepage for more info. There you can navigate and learn about important and emerging issues in the world of pediatric dentistry. Although this may seem quite young, it is important that your child's newly-erupted teeth (erupting at 6-12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning! These early visits are an effective tool for educating parents on key risk factors for dental disease and familiarizing your child with their new environment. Studies have shown that repeated non-threatening visits at an early age help to alleviate fears (for kids AND their parents) and build a child’s confidence. Call us if you would like to tour the facilities before your child’s visit, we’d be happy to show you around!

If your child is old enough, you can help before the visit by talking to him or her about the upcoming appointment. Assure your child that the dentist will be happy to explain all procedures and answer any questions at the time of the visit. Its best if you refrain from using words that may cause unnecessary anxiety, such as “needle”, “pull”, “drill” or “hurt”. Our office staff makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to your child. Parents, we understand the array of emotions that can accompany a visit to the dental office with children. We want to do everything possible to allow you to relax and observe us doing what we do best…making kids comfortable! For convenience, we offer our registration and health history forms on our home page. If you wish, please print and complete prior to your first visit to minimize waiting time. If you choose to fill them out onsite, please come prepared with the necessary information.

What Happens at the First Dental Visit?

The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. This visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way. Sometimes the dentist may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. In some instances, the parent may also be asked to wait in the reception or lounge area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dental team. During the exam, your dentist will check all of your child's existing teeth for decay, examine your child's bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw bones, and oral tissues. Depending on your child’s individual needs, the dentist or hygienist will clean the teeth and assess the need for fluoride and/or x-rays. The doctor will also educate parents about oral healthcare essentials for children, discuss dental developmental issues and answer any questions you may have. Many dentists like to see children every 6-months to build up the child's comfort and confidence level in visiting the dentist, to monitor the development of the teeth, and to promptly treat any developing problems.

Topics your dentist may want to discuss with you include:

  • Good oral hygiene practices and cavity prevention
  • Proper nutrition for infants, children and expecting mothers
  • Fluoride needs
  • Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking)
  • Orthodontic assessment
  • Developmental milestones
  • Teething

When Should Children Get Their First Dental X-Rays?

There are no hard-and-fast rules for when to start dental X-rays. Some children who may be at higher risk for dental problems (for example, those prone to baby bottle tooth decay or those with cleft lip/palate) should have X-rays taken earlier than others. Usually, most children will have had X-rays taken by the age of 4 or 5. Dr. Waage will make his recommendations for x-rays based upon a number of factors including age, stage of dental development, and risk level for dental disease.