What to expect
Baby’s first visit
A dental visit for your baby is faster than a full exam. Your baby may be able to stay in your lap the entire time. The dentist will look inside your baby’s mouth or rub a finger on the gums and teeth. This will not hurt your baby.
During your baby’s first dental visit, the dentist will make sure your baby’s gums and teeth are in good shape. Your dentist will also talk with you about:
- How to care for your baby’s mouth
- Baby bottle tooth decay
- Teething and other developmental milestones
- How different types of food affect oral health
Your child’s exam and cleaning
During your child’s visit, the dentist may take X-rays of your child’s teeth. X-rays are done at least once a year to check development and look for problems, like early signs of cavities and teeth growing in incorrectly.
The dentist or hygienist will then clean your child’s teeth with several tools specially made to remove plaque and tartar. This process is called scaling. Then, your child’s teeth will be polished and flossed.
If your child already has molars, the dentist will see if sealants are necessary. Molar sealants are coatings placed on top of the teeth to protect against cavities. They are covered through CDPHP.
If this is your first dental visit, you may have a full set of X-rays taken of your teeth and you will be asked about your dental history. Your dentist will look for problems with your gums and teeth and recommend preventive or restorative services.
Preventive services protect your teeth from disease. Fluoride treatment is an example of a preventive service for children. Restorative services fix teeth, such as fillings for decayed teeth or crowns on cracked or chipped teeth.
As you age, you may lose some of your teeth to disease or injury, and your dentist may recommend partial or complete dentures. Dentures and services to maintain dentures are covered by CDPHP.
Continuing to care for your smile
- Be sure to schedule your next appointment.
- If treatment is needed, your next appointment may be within a few weeks. It is important to keep your appointment and follow through on your care. Most of the services the dentist will recommend are free or low cost services covered by CDPHP.
- If you do not need treatment, then schedule your next routine appointment.
Take care at home
Keep up the good work at home by practicing healthy habits every day like brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once daily.
If you have children at home, make sure they practice good habits, too.
- Help your child brush and floss correctly.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks, especially juice and candy.
- Don’t put your child to sleep with a bottle or offer food and drink before nap time. Do not let liquids such as milk, formula, breast milk, and fruit juice sit in a child’s mouth during nap time, because they can cause cavities.
If you have a dental emergency
Seek care right away if you injure your teeth or experience pain. Call your dentist’s office first and tell them what happened. If your dentist’s office is not open or if they recommend you go to the emergency room, go right away. Emergency room services for qualifying children and adults are covered by CDPHP.