Unless a problem is suspected, your dentist would like to see your child after his/her primary teeth erupt into the mouth, usually between 24 and 36 months. The most important goals of this first visit are to introduce your child to the office surroundings and to develop a trust in the dentist and staff. The dentist views this visit as an icebreaker. If your child is too frightened, uncomfortable or uncooperative, the dentist's staff may have to re-schedule several short visits. You will be charged a reasonable fee for the time.

Please do not try to explain the first visit yourself. Do not use phrases like "Be brave!" or "Don't be afraid." Don't bribe the child with special treats to get him or her to the office. Rather, be positive and reassuring that the visit will be fun. Present it as something to which the child can look forward.

The appointment should be 15-30 minutes and may include necessary x-rays, a gentle, comprehensive examination of the teeth, gums, jaws, bite and oral tissues. The purpose of the examination is both to observe any problems and to establish a baseline so that the dentist can monitor the child's growth and development. Depending on your child's age and degree of cooperation, the dentist or staff member may also clean and polish his or her teeth and apply a topical fluoride.

Please bring any of your child's medical records to this first appointment. The staff will try to discuss and answer any questions you may have at that time. The dentist's objective is to be gentle and patient so that your child develops a positive attitude toward the dental office and his or her own oral health. The long-term goal is prevention and minimizing any dental problems as the child matures.

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