New patient appointments are designed to get to know you and your child. These appointments usually take between 45 minutes to an hour. During this appointment Dr. West will be reviewing the patients’ current medical and dental history and determine your chief concerns. Ideally, Dr. West will complete a comprehensive oral examination, visually checking for tooth decay, study the facial development including the relationship of the upper and lower jaws to each other, and take radiographs (x-rays) where indicated. Most visits will include a thorough dental cleaning. During these procedures Dr. West can evaluate your child’s reactions to determine how to insure your child becomes familiar and comfortable in the dental office. This is a time for you to ask questions about proper care for your children’s teeth and what you might expect as your child develops.
Because Dr. West expects to spend 45 minutes to one (1) hour with you and your child he reserves exclusive new patient appointment times in his day, these appointments are scheduled for in the morning around 10:30 or in the early afternoon between 1:30 and 2:00 pm.
Prior to being seen for the first time we will need to gather some information:
If the Medical History and Patient Information forms have not been completed at home, please arrive ten (10) minutes before your appointment time so you can complete all necessary paperwork.
Our office, as well as, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association, recommend establishing a Dental Home for your child by their first birthday. Dr. West encourages you to make an appointment as soon as your child gets his/her first tooth so he can counsel you on proper care and your expectations for your child’s dental health. Children with a dental home are more likely to receive proper preventive care and routine oral health treatment.
The Dental Home is intended to provide a place for dental care other than the Emergency Room.
A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable and positive. Inform your child of the visit and tell them that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown; for this reason we invite you to accompany your child during the initial examination. Usually, the first visit takes forty-five minutes to an hour. During this appointment Dr. West will be getting to know you and your child, he will review your child’s medical history, teach oral hygiene techniques and complete their comprehensive dental examination to check the health of your child’s teeth and upper and lower jaw relationship; he may even do a dental cleaning. This is a time for you to ask questions about proper care for your child’s teeth and what you might expect as your child develops.
We encourage you to prepare your child for the first visit by presenting it in a positive manner. Children can recognize others’ apprehension; we ask that you or older children do not use negative comments or fearful statements concerning an upcoming dental appointment. It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as "needle", "shot", "pull", "drill" or "hurt" and “gag”. The less your child has to think about the appointment, the better the visit. Remember Dr. West is specially trained and has years of experience handling patients’ fear and anxiety, we make a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment.
At the conclusion of the appointment Dr. West will have time to explain his findings and recommendations concerning any future care your child may need.
During future appointments, especially after the age of 3, we suggest you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience while you relax in the reception area. Our purpose is to gain your child's confidence and overcome apprehension, and we can usually establish a closer relationship with your child when you are not present. However, you are more than welcome to accompany your child to the treatment room, but once in the dental chair we ask that you return to the reception area while the dental visit is taking place. For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception area with a supervising adult. At the conclusion of the appointment Dr. West will have time to explain his findings and recommendations concerning any future care your child may need.
Your child will enjoy healthy dental habits when they use these Motivational Charts. Encourage regular brushing or help them break the thumbsucking habit.
Want something fun to do? Print one or all of the below Activity Sheets to see if you can conquer the Dental Crossword Puzzle, find all of the Hidden Toothbrushes, Unscramble the Dental Words, or find the Hidden Dental Words. We know you can do it!