Age for First Dental Visit
We recommend that your child see a dentist between six months and age 1 for his or her first dental examination. This recommendation replaces the "visit the dentist by age 3" idea. The parent or guardian who is brushing the child's teeth routinely should be at this appointment. The child’s guardian and dentist will sit on chairs facing each other, with their knees close together. Your child’s head will be in Dr. Steckelberg’s lap, so your child may see you. General instruction on how to brush your child’s teeth, as well as a dental examination is performed.
Earlier dental visits may allow us to diagnose developmental dental conditions, reduce improper dietary habits, and treat dental cavities when the problem is smaller. Starting proper dental hygiene habits with a child younger than one year is usually much easier than starting during the toddler years. The newest recommendations for children's dental care include establishing a dental care "home" by the child's first birthday. We have had great success when the first dental visit is scheduled during your child's most cheerful time of the day.
We realize that not all children are ready for their first dental visit by age 1. If your child has not seen a dentist by age 1, do not fret. When you and your child are ready, contact us to schedule your child for their first dental visit. The lap examination mentioned above is generally used for infants and children younger than 18 months. A more traditional new child examination is used for children 18 months and older.
If your child has special needs or requires extensive dental treatment that we are unable to accommodate, we will be happy to give you the names of some respected local pediatric dentists.
What to Expect At Your Child's Appointments (Age 3+/-)
Many children around the age of 3 are more cooperative when their parents or guardians are not within eyesight. A dental visit introduces many new things to your child. We like to show your child a positive dental experience in our office from start to finish. Whenever possible, we encourage your child to come back to the treatment room with our assistant, while you relax in our waiting area with a magazine and a cup of coffee.
If it is your child’s first visit to the dentist, it may be best to leave other children at home with another caregiver during this special appointment. This may be especially important if your child is having their first dental cavity treated.
You can learn more about infant dental care and formula, view tooth eruption charts and see photos of baby bottle decay.
Childcare During Dental Appointments
We regret to inform you that we do not have the staff available to provide childcare or babysitting services in our office during your dental appointments.
It is generally not a good idea to have your children back in the treatment room during your appointments. This will expose your child to unnecessary germs and may complicate your dental treatment, even during a cleaning. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us and speak with a staff member.