What To Expect for Your Child’s First Visit
Children are very important to the team at Arlington Smile Center. Healthy habits start very early. Dr. Lupita M. Roca loves to work with children and thinks you can never start too early. Though children typically don’t get their first tooth till about six months of age, we feel a first visit should start as young as a few weeks old, for a well-baby visit. We believe that by teaching parents right away how to prevent malocclusion (crooked teeth) and dental decay, the family will be off to the best start possible. We will look for lip- and tongue-ties and discuss diet, nursing, bottle-feeding and how to promote correct jaw development. Of course, we also discuss how to avoid pacifiers and thumb-sucking to prevent malocclusion and facial disproportion. We now know that crooked teeth are 95% environmental and only 5% inherited, so we want to help you help your child achieve their full facial and genetic potential.
The goal of this first visit is to:
a) Become acquainted with the psychology, character, and reactions of your child. This gives Dr. Roca the information she needs if further treatment is required.
b) Classify your child into the appropriate risk category for dental decay.
c) Provide the right preventive program and dental care.
d) Evaluate the development of the jaws and how we can help to guide your child’s oral growth, as applicable.
e) Assuming all goes well, introduce your child to their flavor choice of prophy paste and fluoride varnish. Above all, we are gentle with X-rays. We only take X-rays when we have reason to suspect a problem.
f) Last but not least, Dr. Roca treats faces, not just the mouth. She goes over your child’s airway health and determines if the child is not growing symmetrically and proportionally.
Many fearful children visit our office. That is why it is important to collect all of your child’s dental care information possible for us, as some children have been to other dentists before without success. These children are even more fearful and difficult to manage because they already have had an unpleasant or painful experience. Quite often at Arlington Smile Center, we find parents have not had great experiences at the dentist, and the child senses the parent’s fear and hesitations without the parent even realizing it.
The best thing you can do as a parent before your child’s first visit is to be calm and happy. Teach your child that the purpose of the first visit to our office will only be to count their teeth, play with Dr. Roca’s toys, maybe take pictures and definitely to pick out a prize from our treasure chest. Please don’t try to explain further details to your child, as you may give hints that create false ideas of what will happen. We know the methods and have the techniques to manage your child’s behavior and fear.
Please refrain from using the following words with your child before their dental visit: pinch, poke, needle, shot, yank, blood, pull, drill or hurt.
Some of our techniques are:
- Tell — Show — Do
- Modeling (using mom or dad as a model)
- Positive reinforcement
- Limits — control of behavior
In our profession, we are trained to recognize the reasons behind your child’s dental fear and anxiety and to manage your child’s behavior. But please always expect age-appropriate behavior to occur. Most children can be managed by using some simple behavior management techniques. Others may need more time and effort and a more complicated approach. The majority of children can cooperate well in the dental office for treatment if a correct and careful approach is applied. However, some children may need alternative options for their dental treatment, which we will discuss with each parent if the need applies.
- No paste splatter, no paste mess
- Better visibility during cleaning
- Patient does not have to rinse
- Effectively clean and polish, interproximally, subgingivally and on all facial and lingual tooth surfaces with superior stain removal
But Dr. Roca doesn’t stop with prophy paste-less polishing cups. She recently invested in a wireless prophy handpiece that is extremely quiet compared to the handpiece attached to her dental unit. Since we all know many kids can be very sensitive to noise, they just love this wireless prophy brush. She even lets them press down on the rheostat, holding it in their hands, to entertain and distract them.
“Our goal is to make children feel comfortable, feel that they do have the ability and right to make good choices and grow up into adults who will continue to visit the dentist regularly to take care of their smiles.”
For the kids who are excited about choices, Arlington Smile Center introduces them to captivating products like Zooby®’s fun, animal-themed prophy angles: Penelope the Penguin, Francesca the Flamingo, Chase the Cheetah, Talon the Tiger, and Zoe the Zebra! These personified prophy angles can be used to engage young patients, helping transform an ordinary dental visit into a more captivating encounter where pediatric patients don’t just open wide, they open wide with a roar!
Dr. Roca also unmasks her childlike ways and wears a mask with Penelope the Penguin and Francesca the Flamingo ear-loop face masks for the kids’ visits!
Meet Dr. Lupita Roca
Meeting Dr. Roca is a great way for your kids to learn about going to the dentist, to reduce the fear of going to the dentist, and even to learn some Spanish!
This video is in Spanish and English since Dr. Roca is a bilingual dentist, thanks to her Cuban-born parents. In the video, Dr. Roca and her patient, Mariela, introduce many instruments that one would typically see in a dental office. (When you arrive at the office, Dr. Roca will usually only speak English unless your child is in an immersion program or speaks Spanish at home.)
If you have time, it may make the visit more familiar if you show this video to your children before they visit.
Your entire family deserves a healthy smile! Give Arlington Smile Center a call today at 703-237-7622 to schedule a visit for everyone.