Pediatric Dentistry

kidsWhen should children start seeing the dentist?


The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit after eruption of their first tooth and no later than 12 months of age.


What happens during a child’s first visit?


Very young children will be placed in the lap of their parent.  The child’s head will be placed in Dr. Holwager’s lap while she completes their examination.  The examination will only take 2-3 minutes.  We will count teeth and assess growth and development of the child.  One of our hygienists will discuss dietary habits and how to brush your child’s teeth.


What happens during future visits?


Children will continue to receive examinations while sitting in a parent’s lap until they are old enough to sit in the dental chair without the assistance of a parent.  Once they are ready, the hygienist will clean and polish the child’s teeth and take any necessary x-rays based on their age and risk for dental decay.  Fluoride varnish will be applied at the completion of the visit.


How often should a child visit the dentist?


Children should visit our office every 6 months.


What if my child has cavities?


Children who are able to cooperate during restorative visits will be treated at our office.  Children of a pre-cooperative age or whom Dr. Holwager feels would be best treated by a pediatric dentist will be referred to a local pediatric dental office.



What role should I play during my child’s visit?


For your comfort, one adult is welcome but not required to accompany their child into the treatment area during the initial exam and all appointments.  This allows you the opportunity to see our outstanding staff in action, and allows Dr. Holwager and her team to discuss their dental findings and treatment needs directly with you.


We do ask that if you accompany your child, you will assume the role of a silent observer.  Your presence is greatly enhanced if you play a passive role.  If more than one person is speaking to the child and multiple people are giving directions, they sometimes become anxious and confused.  Cooperation and trust must be established directly between our practitioners and your child and not through parents.


For safety and privacy of other patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult.


There may be times when a child’s experience is enhanced by a parent’s absence.  We strongly encourage older children to come back by themselves as this builds confidence and trust.  Older children, such as 8 and older, typically do better without a parent present.  Also, older children who are a bit apprehensive may look for an “escape” by going to their parents.  In this case, we may ask that a parent wait in the reception area during treatment to facilitate a more direct line of communication between the child and the dental practitioner.


It is best if guests refrain from using words around children that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle,” “shot,” “pull,” or “hurt”.