When Should My Child Have Their First Dentist Appointment?
Chances are, during your child’s first year of life you are focusing on keeping them healthy, smiling, and exploring the world around them not on their oral development. However, did you know that maintaining your child’s oral health from an early age is crucial to setting them up for oral success and overall health well-being in the future? So how do you ensure that your child is not only on track in their oral development but also maintaining great dental hygiene; find them a certified pediatric dentist and schedule an appointment!
Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Michael J. Leach D.D.S. Pediatric Dentistry encourage parents to schedule their child’s first dental appointment when the first tooth erupts or following their first birthday. I bet you’re thinking, that sounds great, but where do I take my child? To the dentist that I go to? No, the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend taking your child to a pediatric dentist. This is largely attributed to the fact that pediatric dentists receive an additional 2-3 years of specialized training following the receipt of their Doctorate degree. These extra training years are hyper focused on providing the highest quality of care for infants, children, adolescences and individuals with specialized needs. Finding a pediatric dentist for your child establishes a ‘dental home’ for them and allows them to become accustom to visiting the office, interacting with our team, and seeing Dr. Leach. Research has found that teens and young adults who had an established dental home from an early age have fewer oral health problems, healthier overall well-being, and minimized anxiety about visiting the dentist.
What Does My Child’s First Visit to the Dentist Entail?
The initial visit that your child has with our office will be a lap exam if your child is under the age of two and has never been to the dentist. This appointment will include an exam by Dr. Leach where he will look at the formation and development of your child’s primary (baby) teeth and their gums, make any recommendations on changes to the care of your child’s teeth/instruct parents on the proper care of primary teeth, and answer any questions that you might have. Attending this appointment early on will assist in decreasing the chance of cavities forming due to overexposure to milk or juice in addition to other negative oral health problems. All appointments following the initial lap exam will be Oral Health Check-ups completed by our Hygiene team along with an exam performed by Dr. Leach.
Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit
When you are scheduling your child’s appointment please take into consideration the time of day that you are asking for; the time that works best for you might not be the best time for your child. Now let us explain that statement, children are more patient and have longer attention spans during the morning hours which is why at Michael J. Leach D.D.S. Pediatric Dentistry we schedule the little ones in the morning. Scheduling an appointment during nap time is one of the biggest mistakes that can be made when scheduling your child’s oral health check-up. Your child is in a routine and each child is different which is why our team will work with the parent/guardian to find the best time to fit your child’s needs. Please keep in mind that most pediatric dentist offices open earlier in the morning to help make a child’s dental experience more enjoyable. The pediatric dental office of Dr. Michael J. Leach opens at 7:00AM and closes at 4:30pm.
If your child has a sucking habit, thumb or object, make sure to inform the dentist prior to, or during the appointment. Habits such as these can affect your child’s teeth and jaw development and may need to be addressed during the visit. If you would like more information regarding digit sucking and its potential effects click here.
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary and at Michael J. Leach D.D.S. Pediatric Dentistry it isn’t. The office was designed with every patient in mind regardless of their age. There are designated areas for our smallest of patients to play while they wait along with a coffee bar and massaging chairs for the parents to enjoy. The office is designed to allow you to escape to a mountain lodge complete with friendly woodland animals, a fish aquarium, and of course our therapy dog, Honey. Our team knows children can become upset and some tears may happen. Dr. Leach has 25 plus years experience dealing with children. He and his team are able to meet the children where they are developmentally, and appropriately assist them in coping during their visit. Children who may become upset during their initial visit are able to complete their treatment and return more confident and comfortable for additional visits. This is a reason our slogan is, “We create positive and heartwarming experiences… one smile at a time”.
We are always accepting new patients and would love the opportunity to welcome your family to Michael J. Leach D.D.S. Pediatric Dentistry. Please call us at 770-521-8855 to speak with our New Patient Coordinator or request an appointment online HERE.
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