Infant Dentistry in Rockville, MD

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend that a child’s first dental visit should take place within 6 months of when their first tooth appears or by age 1, whichever happens sooner. This is why Shady Grove Pediatric Dentistry offers dental care for babies in Rockville, MD. An early start to professional dental care is an important component of excellent oral and dental health throughout childhood.

What You’ll Learn at the First Visit

When you bring your baby or toddler to our Rockville practice for their first appointment, our board-certified pediatric dentist Dr. Ball and our friendly and knowledgeable team will give you great information on several of the common infant and pediatric dental concerns to watch out for. These include:

  • Prevention of cavity formation 
  • Baby bottle tooth decay
  • Teething
  • Pacifier habits
  • Proper brushing (and flossing, if needed)
  • Airway health information (and their influence on the growth of the jaws and face)

We will also give you information about mouth-healthy infant feeding practices, mouth cleaning, and how to take care of your child’s baby teeth.

Preparing for the First Visit

Up to a certain age, there’s not much you can do to explain the dentist to a very young child, and their crying is an age-appropriate and expected behavior. But if you are bringing a toddler or preschooler, you can give them an explanation of what to expect from this new experience.

Be sure to cover the importance of going to the dentist, and explain the dentist as someone who helps them keep their teeth strong and healthy. Help them feel excited about this Big Kid milestone.

You can prepare for the first visit as a parent by discussing your questions and concerns with us. Keep in mind that your own history with dental offices is not your child’s. We encourage you to be honest with us about your views on dentists so that we can work together to ensure your child doesn’t inherit your dental anxiety. 

The Parent’s Role During the Visit

Parents can greatly help their child have a good experience by remaining calm and cheerful throughout the visit. You know your child best, and what you tell us can be very helpful. We recognize that each child is unique and try to tailor the visit to meet your child’s specific needs. 

  • Age 10-24 months: most children will become fussy and apprehensive when laid back to be evaluated. This is not a cause for concern as it’s developmentally normal, and the open mouth cry is very helpful in getting a great look inside, so don’t fret; ironically, it’s the babies who don’t cry who are harder to examine.
  • Age 2-3 years: children this age are better able to understand and cooperate, as long as they are in the right mood.  We try to engage toddlers by using our “tell, show, do” technique, although “no” is a common response from two-year-olds, as we all know. If the children are well rested and in a curious and learning mood, they may become very interested in all the things we try to show and teach them on their first visit.
  • Age 3+: Many 3-year-olds can have a delightful visit as long as no one has “spoiled” it for them by suggesting going to the dentist is scary or unpleasant. Children older than 3 most often do not have trouble during their first visit, unless they had a fairly recent negative healthcare experience or have significant separation anxiety; regardless, we do our best to work with them at their own pace and pique their interest by talking to them in a way that shows we are trying to build a relationship - it’s not just about checking and cleaning their teeth!

The First Visit

Infant visits take place in our Baby Room, which is more reminiscent of a nursery than a dental operatory. During your child’s appointment, you can hold your child in your lap. You and Dr. Ball will use the “knee to knee” position (we will explain and demonstrate), and Dr. Ball will complete a thorough yet gentle assessment of your child’s mouth. 

You will receive oral hygiene instructions as Dr. Ball cleans your child’s teeth and gums and demonstrates effective methods of working with wiggly little ones. Remember, their cooperation is not required. We know what is age-appropriate and can do our job using effective methods, which you can also implement easily at home. You will leave reassured that you’ve had all your questions answered and can always reach out with follow-up questions later on as needed. We are here for you.

The Second Visit and Beyond

As with adults, children should have regular dental visits — typically twice a year, but we may recommend more frequent visits to help build your child’s comfort and confidence or to keep an eye on a developmental or cavity concern issue. The interval that will be recommended will depend on our findings at the initial visit and may be adjusted as your child grows. 

Begin Your Child’s Dental Health Journey at Shady Grove Pediatric Dentistry 

Call us at 240-848-7074 or visit our appointment page to request an appointment for your child. Make sure to check the map for directions to our Rockville office

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