If you have recently chosen a new dentist to go to, you might be worried about what will occur. Many people have anxiety when it comes time to check on the health of their teeth, especially if they suspect they will need some type of treatment. Whether you feel your teeth are perfectly healthy or assume you will need a procedure done soon, you should be prepared for what is considered routine during an initial visit.
When you call to make an appointment, you should think about what you need done. If you are not having any dental issues right now, but just want to become familiar with a new practitioner anyway, you can set up a general checkup. This means the dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth and take x-rays, though you can likely have x-rays sent over from your past practitioner if you recently had them done.
If you need a cleaning, you can schedule this as your first appointment. Both this and a general checkup will likely be free to you if you have insurance, since preventive care does not require copays. If you are having any pain in your teeth or gums, though, you should let the receptionist know when you make your appointment. Some dentists still only do a checkup and make a diagnosis on the first visit, scheduling any procedures at a later date. But your practitioner might be able to fit you in for the treatment you need as soon as possible, whether it is an extraction, filling, or another procedure.
The first set of primary teeth are the upper and lower central incisors — which erupt between 6-10 months of age and 8-12 months of age, respectively. This appointment is a simple “meet and greet” where the pediatric dentist meets the parent and/or guardian(s), greets the child, and collects necessary medical and dental information. Also, children are very receptive to our body language. If you’re tense, they’ll be tense! So, make their first dental visit as casual as going to the local supermarket or better yet, as fun as a playdate! Have fun with your child and encourage them to interact with the dental related toys and books while waiting.
Among firsts, typically the next appointment is a child’s first clinical examination. In the case of older children, the dentist will take a series of radiographic images (x-rays or ultrasonic scaler ) and do a complete dental examination. These examinations — often called extraoral and intraoral exams — help the dentist and related staff evaluate everything from your child’s facial-skeletal characteristics to determining the health of their gum tissue and teeth. All in all, the aim of the pediatric dental office is to meet the parent and/or guardian, greet the child, and collect medical and dental history, while helping both parent and child feel knowledgeable and comfortable with the dental office and staff. Making that first dental appointment may feel uncomfortable as you don’t know how your child may react to a new environment. However, just remember the younger you introduce them to the dentist the better.
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