Dr. Debora Bolton and our entire team at Bull City Smiles are pleased to welcome patients of all ages to our office including children! We have years of experience in helping children feel calm and relaxed at our office, and we are eager to help your child maintain a healthy smile.
We recognize that every child is unique. Our team is trained with that in mind. The purpose of the first visit is to establish a positive relationship with your child and to evaluate your child’s dental health. Our office has highly trained staff and a fun environment to make your child’s first visit comfortable and enjoyable. We will help your child learn about their dental visit one step at a time, so that he/she will not be as fearful. There are games, toys, books, and televisions to entertain your child at the office. Your child’s first visit to our dental office should be fun and educational. Good habits start early and preliminary exposure to a positive dental experience will help unfold a lifetime of oral health!
We usually schedule their first visit at 2 years old unless there is an emergency or suspicion of early childhood cavities.
We encourage you to accompany your child/children throughout the visit, to see what we see inside the mouth, and to help your child/children through each appointment. The initial visit lasts about an hour, consists of x-rays, a cleaning, a fluoride treatment, and an examination by the Doctor. We love to have any sibling “go first” as a good example!
We teach you and your child how to best care for their teeth, advise on eating habits, explain how cavities are formed and answer any specific questions you may have. All information is provided in an age appropriate manner to help nurture and encourage your child.
X-rays and Cleaning
If appropriate, we will take x-rays (pictures or radiographs) of your child’s teeth. X-rays are vital and essential in completely and properly diagnosing cavities and other dental problems. Without x-rays, certain serious dental conditions can and will be missed. We definitely limit your child’s exposure to the minimum amounts necessary to ensure a proper diagnosis.
Your child’s teeth will be cleaned and then protected with a topical fluoride application. By using various techniques such as “Tell-Show-Do” and age appropriate words (such as “tooth tickler” and “Mr. Thirsty”), we can help your child understand and feel more comfortable during the cleaning.
We look forward to partnering with you to build a lifetime of good dental habits for your children.
Examination of the Teeth & Oral Cavity
Finally, one of our terrific Doctors will examine (count) your child’s teeth. Using a “tooth counter” and the “baby tooth mirror,” we’ll show both your child and yourself all the discoveries that we find. Appropriate oral hygiene and diet instructions will be given, specific to your child’s needs. Then, discovering the “treasure tower” is always a fun part of the visit. We reward your child for trying and doing his/her best!
Parents are welcome to either relax in the reception room or accompany their child into the operatory area. We do need to have a parent or legal guardian in the operatory for all examination and emergency evaluation appointments in order to get your written, informed consent for any other needed treatment for your child.
During the examination appointment, we will examine the erupted teeth for cavities, the gums for infection, and the other mouth tissues for any abnormalities. We will evaluate the way your child’s teeth come together (the occlusion) and check for sufficient room for the permanent teeth to erupt. We will evaluate the effects of any childhood habits such as thumb sucking, use of a pacifier, or prolonged use of the baby bottle. At the end of the visit, we will thoroughly discuss all of our findings, the necessary treatment plan, as well as all dental issues pertinent to protecting the well-being of your child’s oral health.
Many parents want to know how often their child needs to come to the dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a check-up every six months to prevent cavities and other dental diseases. At each check-up, we will review your child’s growth and development and have recommendations specific to your child’s age and level of development such as the need for orthodontics.
At the first visit we will be able to answer your specific questions such as:
- Does my child have any cavities?
- When will my child’s teeth come in?
- Are oral habits such as thumb sucking harmful?
- What’s the best way to brush?
- Does my child need braces?
Please feel free to address any concerns or questions that you may have during your first visit to our office. Good health depends in large part upon the development of good habits such as sensible eating and sleeping routines, exercise, and recreation. Dental health also depends upon good habits that include proper tooth brushing and flossing, regular visits to the dentist, and the avoidance of excessive sweets.
Bringing your child to the dentist when there is no dental emergency will make the visit a more pleasant experience. Routine visits may allow your dentist to recognize a dental problem in its early stages and help prevent problems before they occur. We can also advise on nutrition and home dental care for your child.
Fear of the dentist is learned from a bad experience or from hearing stories from others. Allowing your child to become familiar with the dental clinic will ease his or her fears about future visits.
Make their dental visits a routine part of their schedule, not just when there is a problem. Most importantly-don’t show fear or anxiety yourself, regardless of your past dental experiences. This will only add to your child’s concern about the visit.
Your Child’s Follow-up Dental Appointments
Your child’s dental care is very important to us. We are excited to make their visit a positive experience. The following information will help make for a happier and pleasant appointment for all involved:
- Young children often do better scheduled in the morning, when they are most refreshed.
- Treatment must start on schedule. A late arrival may necessitate rescheduling.
- If you cannot keep your appointment, please call us to cancel at least the day before the appointment. This courtesy will enable us to place another patient in your appointment time.
- Please don’t spend a lot of time preparing your child for the dental visit. Treat their visit as an everyday occurrence, like going to the store. Teasing or telling scary stories about dental visits must be avoided. Once in the treatment room, the treatment team will explain the procedure in order to put your child at ease.
- Bull City Smiles allows one parent in each dental treatment room and we have placed a chair there for your comfort. However, having a parent in the dental treatment room is not always in the best interest of the child, parent, or dental personnel. Sometimes if the parent is present, there is no “transfer of authority and trust” to the dental treatment team; communication and management are usually more difficult. Often, parents are not able to understand and deal with the emotional aspects or procedures that take place during treatment (administration of anesthesia, tooth extraction, bleeding, etc.) and react inappropriately (say the wrong things to the child, ask questions that upset the child, show the child that they are scared, become emotional themselves, etc.), thereby making the treatment more difficult for everyone involved. For the reasons stated, parents may be asked not to remain in the room while dental treatment takes place, if we think it is in the best interest of your child.
- Before entering the treatment room, children should be encouraged to go to the bathroom.
- Upon completion of treatment, a member of the treatment team will explain what was done and answer any questions.
- After the visit, your child must be watched closely to protect him/her from self-injury. Pay particular attention to lip and cheek chewing due to numbness from the local anesthetic.
- If any pain develops as a result of the dental procedures, give the appropriate dose of Children’s Motrin.
- If any extractions (removal of teeth) were done, do not allow your child to rinse, drink from a straw, pick on the area with a fingernail, or eat hard foods. If you note any bleeding, have him/her bite firmly on a tightly folded gauze pad or tissue for fifteen to thirty minutes.
At Bull City Smiles, we specialize in making your child’s dental visit a pleasant one. Your child’s first visit, especially, must be a pleasant experience. This sets the stage for optimal preventive dentistry.