The Tooth about Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Parents Can Help Prepare Children for a Successful, Stress-Free Exam
Williamsburg Dental wants to make your child’s initial trip to the dentist a positive experience, not a memory they (and you) would rather forget.
The practice reminds parents of youngsters to start planning for their child’s first exam. While some offices recommend bringing toddlers for check-ups, Williamsburg thinks age three is the point when children are best able to comprehend what’s going on and less likely to be frightened.
“Your child’s first visit shouldn’t become the big unknown, “says Dr. Joseph J. Capista, a Senior Partner at Williamsburg Dental. “Parents play a big role in preparing children for this new step in their lives.”
Williamsburg Dental offers several tips to parents anticipating bringing their child in for their first dental exam:
- Set a good example for your child by displaying an open attitude prior to your regular adult check-up, explaining how important it is to take care of our teeth
- Avoid bribes or negative connotations like “Don’t be afraid”
- Purchase or rent a situational book or video and watch it with your child to help open up dialogue and answer any questions
- Supervise your early brushers after breakfast and before bed, limiting toothpaste to a pea-sized or smaller dollop since many children don’t spit out properly
- Help your child start developing good eating habits with nutritious snacks
- Ask the practice if you can bring your child in for a familiarization peak at the facility in advance
During your child’s scheduled visit, one of Williamsburg’s hygienists will greet them with a big smile. Cartoons can be shown on television monitors in the examination room.
Ida D’Ignazio has been a hygienist with Williamsburg for 12 years. She brushes little teeth with “Mr. Tickle” and ‘Mr. Thirsty’ in order to make the teeth “shine like pearls” and will let children touch the equipment to further reassure them. After the cleaning, D’Ignazio calls in one of the practice’s dentists, like ‘Dr. Bob’ (Robert Spennato) or ‘Dr. Joe’ (Capista or Joseph Lamb) to, as she tells her young patients, “make sure I did a good job brushing your teeth.”
The dentist takes over, conducting a comprehensive, but non-invasive, exam, looking for potential future problems with gums and jaws and checking for decay. Oral habits like excessive juice drinking or thumb sucking might be discussed with the parent. Unlike many other dental practices, Williamsburg Dental encourages parents to come into the exam room with their children the first time and even for subsequent visits if it helps the child relax.
“We don’t like to re-schedule, but if there’s a lot of hesitation we’d rather see your child return at a later date than be frightened,” says D’Ignazio. “We want your children to be comfortable with us not only during their first visit but for many years to come.”