Gather Necessary Information Beforehand
Discussing your family history may not be the first thing you think of when scheduling an appointment with your Westminster children’s dentistry, but being familiar with your family’s medical history allows us to better care for their oral and overall health.
Like many other conditions such as heart disease and certain forms of cancer, periodontal disease has strong genetic ties that can run in a family. Knowing your family’s medical history can help the children’s dentistry keep an eye out for oral health issues such as gum disease or other conditions which present symptoms in the mouth, such as diabetes.
Aside from gathering any relevant personal or family medical information, be sure to review your dental insurance benefits as you prepare for the appointment. Knowing your child’s level of coverage will help you understand what costs will be associated with their care. If you have any questions about using your dental insurance in our practice or if you would like information about paying for care without insurance, give us a call!
Topics to Be Reviewed During the First Visit
- • The role of cavity-causing bacterial transmission
- • Diet
- • Brushing/flossing
- • Judicious home fluoride use
- • Teething and dental development
- • Pacifier, thumb sucking, teeth grinding and other habits
- • Histories of dental/oral trauma
What Happens at the First Visit With the Children’s Dentist?
- 1. Parents and children are welcomed to the office. Parents are offered coffee, tea, and internet access. Children may play in the reception area with toys and blocks, or they can color or read.
- 2. At the appointed time, the parent and child are taken to the examination area.
- 3. The dentist reviews with the parent the child’s medical history. Parents are encouraged to share any special circumstances, such as sensory issues or unique developmental or behavioral needs.
- 4. Dietary patterns and habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier, and teeth grinding are discussed.
- 5. The dentist will complete an examination of the teeth and gums. A technique called tell-show-do allows the child to see what will be done while the dentist explains the examination process with age-appropriate verbiage.
- 6. If the child is able to cooperate, a cleaning and fluoride treatment will be completed. We have many flavors from which the child may choose.
- 7. If indicated, diagnostic X-rays will be recommended. Modern digital radiography has resulted in smaller, better tolerated child-size films and lower radiation.
- 8. Children love our treasure tower, where a large selection of high-quality toys rewards the child for his/her efforts when their appointment is over. While parents check out at the front desk, the No Cavity Club and other contest entries are offered.
How frequently your child will need dental X-rays relies largely on their medical and dental history, age, and current oral health. The first visit often includes X-rays as well.
If required, dental X-rays are generally taken at the beginning of your child’s dental appointment. Dental X-rays allow us to detect and diagnose tooth decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. X-rays can even be helpful in identifying dental and orthodontic issues that exist beneath the gum line.
Once it’s time for the cleaning, the dentist or hygienist uses a small metal instrument known as a scaler to scrape off tartar above and below the gum line and in between teeth. Next, they polish your child’s teeth using a polishing tool and a lightly abrasive paste to deep clean those pearly whites and remove any tartar left behind after the previous step. Last but not least, they’ll finish the cleaning with a thorough flossing.
After your child’s teeth are clean, the dentist will perform a comprehensive oral examination to ensure their oral health is in tip-top shape. They will:
- Examine your child’s teeth for signs of decay
- Check for gum swelling and redness, and measure the depth of your child’s gingival pockets to check for signs of periodontal disease
- Test how your child’s top and bottom teeth come together and check for signs of teeth grinding or other potential orthodontic issues
- Examine your child’s neck, lymph glands, and oral cavity for signs of oral cancer
Based on your child’s exam, we’ll discuss any necessary treatment recommendations and offer helpful tips on how to improve their oral hygiene before their next appointment with their Westminster pediatric dentist.