Infant First Dentist Visit orange county caWe Believe In Comprehensive Pediatric Dental Care

At Orange County Pediatric Dental Group we believe that comprehensive pediatric dental care is important in building the proper foundation for your child’s long term oral health. Each step of a dental visit is important in building a relationship between our doctors, staff, and our families. Our goal is to provide a “dental home” for our patients, where all aspects of Pediatric Dentistry are addressed, and where our patients and their families feel welcome. We believe in prevention and “anticipatory guidance” where we can evaluate and discuss current or potential problems and ways that these can be managed or avoided. Many dental issues can be managed simply or avoided altogether if they are addressed at an early age.

Infant Oral Health

We support the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines that recommend that children have their first dental visit by their first birthday! As Pediatric Dentists, we are trained to evaluate infants. In fact, Dr. Renzi and Dr. House both have been called to local hospitals to the Neonatal ICU to evaluate newborns that have been born with teeth. By seeing your child by their first birthday, we can evaluate if tooth eruption is normal and we can address any potential diet and hygiene issues that could lead to tooth decay.

The bacteria that can cause cavities are passed from one person to another early on in life, just like the flu or the common cold! This is another reason that we like to see patients so early. We want to educate families and break the cycle, so that babies are less likely to get infected by decay causing bacteria.

Our infant oral exam is done as a “knee-to-knee” exam, rather than having your baby sit in a dental chair. This way your baby is stabilized on your knee and your baby can see you. The doctor can also do a more thorough exam compared with having your baby sitting upright on your lap. Many babies fuss during the exam, but they recover quickly afterwards. After a few dental visits, most babies adjust to dental visits. The advantage of early dental examinations is that in the event of dental trauma when your baby is a toddler, your little one will already be used to the dental setting and won’t have to go to an unfamiliar place when they are in pain.

The actual examination goes by very quickly. Most of the infant dental visit is spent discussing oral hygiene, diet, potential concerns with eruption/tooth position, common dental problems in the upcoming age category and ways to minimize these problems, etc.

Starting good oral health habits in infancy can have a major positive impact in your child’s lifelong oral health!

First visit for older children

Your child’s first dental visit is tailored to their age and behavior. We want to make dental visits something that children enjoy. Many parents tell us “I don’t understand it, but my kids look forward to coming here!” Some toddlers will tolerate an examination, cleaning, and x-rays during their first dental visit, while other older children are very anxious and will only allow an examination during the first dental visit in our office. Our doctors and staff will work with our patients in a kind, gentle manner. We find that regular dental visits help anxious patients and patients with special needs adjust to dental visits better.

As part of a first dental visit, as well as routine check-ups, our doctors are looking at the teeth in the mouth, existing dental work, cavities, tooth position, oral hygiene (plaque and tartar), occlusion (how the teeth come together), oral habits (such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, bruxism, etc.), gum and other soft tissues of the head and neck, and many other aspects related to Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Renzi and Dr. House keep the dental examination fun and lighthearted, helping to minimize stress for the children. Our doctors will discuss their findings with you and make any treatment recommendations. We will give you tips on how to make brushing and flossing easier. We believe in working with families and caregivers to develop realistic oral hygiene programs to use at home for our patients. We strongly believe in preventing cavities and conservative treatment, when possible. Our doctors will also discuss the risks, causes, and prevention of common dental conditions, as well as evaluating any medications and medical conditions that your child may have that could impact his or her oral health.

Most Common Problems

During the first visit, your Pediatric Dentist will educate you about most common conditions that may affect your baby through their first year, it includes:

  • Teeth eruption
    Usually, around 6 months of age, your baby’s teeth will start to erupt, sometimes making your child fussy and irritable. Your infant may experience appetite loss as well.
  • Bottle tooth decay (Early Childhood Caries/Tooth Decay)
    It is the greatest major problem in infant dental care. It is created by sugary sweet liquids or milk, often from frequent exposure through baby bottles. Tooth decay can cause serious damage if left untreated. It usually is first seen on the upper front teeth. Children who nurse at will through the night and who also eat other foods can get Early Childhood Caries. Children who fall asleep with liquids other than water in their mouths are at greater risk for this type of decay.
  • Pacifier
    Sucking a pacifier is a part of many children’s normal development. This is very comforting to the child throughout the first year. On the other hand, when the baby doesn’t need to suck on a pacifier any longer but does so for comfort or out of habit, irregularities in bite and tooth decay may arise. Those problems are especially common for those who continue to have this habit after the baby’s teeth start to fall out.

How does it go?

A Pediatric Dentist is specially trained, so he or she understands children’s psychology. Such offices are generally colorful and with a very child-friendly environment with many toys, games, and tools, which can be educational. Our goal is to help the children feel relaxed while at our office. Orange County Pediatric Dental Group aims to make your child feel welcome and very comfortable during their visits.

Tips to Make the First Visit More Enjoyable

  1. Bring another adult for the visit
    Infants can become fussy during the visit, so another adult may distract the child and smooth the visit. Moreover, ask your dentist all types of questions and listen to his/her advice and recommendations. If you are anxious about dentistry, children pick up these non-verbal messages. Consider having another adult that your child feels safe with be the one present during the examination (we often have grandparents, aunts, etc. help out this way).
  2. Other children at home
    Your other children may cause your child to fuss even more during their first visit. Leaving other children at home can make the first visit go more smoothly and be less stressful. We find that many of our patients enjoy the special time they have with you alone.
  3. Non-threatening conversations
    Our doctors and staff avoid using threatening words like needles, shot, drills, bleeding, or hurt and so should you. We encourage positive speaking with our patients about the treatment and other things associated with dentistry. We may discuss treatment away from your child so he or she does not get anxious hearing about treatment that is needed, when appropriate.
  4. Positive explanations
    We aim to provide the dental visit as a positive experience. You need to explain to your child that this visit is going to help them to keep their teeth and mouth healthy. It is better than telling the child that the dentist is looking for cavities and is going to possibly drill if he finds some.
  5. Explaining
    Your child will be less anxious if he or she knows what to expect from the treatment. We recommend that families keep explanations simple. For the first visit, telling a child that a Pediatric Dentist is a doctor who looks at children’s teeth and that he or she will have his or her teeth counted is appropriate. Telling your school aged child that he or she may have his or her teeth tickled with a toothbrush and may have pictures taken of his or her teeth, is usually an adequate explanation. Some children benefit from books about dental visits. If your child needs dental treatment, please ask the doctor how to approach this with your child.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s first dental visit or infant dentistry, please contact us at Orange County Pediatric Dental Group