Many parents underestimate the importance of their child’s very first “big kid” visit to the dentist. Yet this visit can actually shape your child’s views on dental care for a lifetime. We like to call this first appointment a “Happy Visit,” as it is designed to build positive associations with the dentist’s office.
When to Have the Happy Visit
While it is important to start having your baby’s teeth checked at one year of age, the pediatrician typically handles the earliest dental care. By the third birthday, though, most toddlers want to start taking some responsibility for their own oral health (with lots of help from their parents). A Happy Visit around this time can help get your kids buy into the process of taking care of their teeth.
Happy Visit Goal
The whole point of a Happy Visit is to introduce your child to dentistry in a safe, fun way. We work hard to match the visit to your child’s level of interest, personality, and developmental level. We let each child take the lead, building a positive and successful experience that will make the child eager to return.
What to Expect
Since we tailor each Happy Visit to the individual child, there is no standard guide to what to expect. Particularly nervous or shy children may simply meet the staff and take a quick peek around the office. Braver kids will learn some basics of oral health in a fun way that involves props, and perhaps take a ride in the dental chair and handle some of our equipment. If your child is up to it, we may even do a full cleaning and exam. Regardless of how far your child makes it through the process, we will provide a small reward, such as a toy, at the end.
Why Have a Happy Visit?
We do Happy Visits because they work! This is our best opportunity to build trust with kids and help them overcome their fears of the dental office. Everything is less scary when friends are around, and a Happy Visit lets your child view us as friends. Of course, you are also an important part of the visit, showing your child that there is no reason to be afraid.