First Visit

Thank you for choosing our office, where we have created a comfortable environment in which you can feel confident about the dental care you receive. During your first visit, our objective is to get to know you better, to become familiar with your past dental experiences and to establish a treatment plan that will best meet your dental needs.

When you arrive, please be prepared to complete all insurance and health information forms. We ask that you fill out several forms that will get you acquainted with our office. Also, please assist us by providing the following information:

  • Any panoramic X-ray or other X-rays taken within the past year.
  • If you have dental insurance, please bring your insurance card. This will enable us to give you an estimate of your costs.

Your initial appointment will last approximately one hour. In most cases, we will clean your teeth, and X-rays will be taken. Our dentist will perform a thorough exam and evaluate the diagnostic records, which help in diagnosing teeth decay, periodontal problems, jaw problems and any signs of oral cancer. After the examination, our dentist will provide a detailed summary that outlines any existing dental problems and proposed treatment. Take-home oral hygiene instructions will also be provided, along with any suggestions to help you care for your teeth.

We believe that good dental care begins with open communication, and we promise to speak candidly with you. Working together, we can achieve a true partnership with one common goal – keeping your teeth, gums and jaw joints healthy!

 

Many new parents ask us when they should bring their children in for their first dental visit. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child's first checkup should occur by age one. Surprised? You shouldn't be! Even though there may only be a few baby teeth visible at that age, there are plenty of things we can start working on — including the development of healthy habits that will make future visits to the dentist far more pleasurable.

Unfortunately, some kids develop tooth decay at an early age. We will be on the lookout for cavities — but that's only one reason for an early visit to our office. Equally important is reviewing the proper ways to care for a young child's mouth, evaluating and reviewing your child's developmental milestones, and discussing the importance of good oral hygiene.

Dr. Brigid Mooney is the mother of two young boys and she understands how difficult it can be to brush a baby's or toddler's teeth each day. Dr. Mooney can show you helpful methods to accomplish brushing and flossing and has plenty of tips and recommendations when it comes to kids oral development. 

Preparing for the Big Day

The way kids seem to pick up on their parents' feelings sometimes seems uncanny; so, if you're nervous about going to the dentist yourself, try not to let it show. Generally, during this visit we'll simply be talking to you and your child, looking in his or her mouth, and making oral health assessments. It's best to tell your child what to expect beforehand, without making too big a fuss about it. You could even build some excitement by helping them get ready for “the big day.”

When you come in, it's a good idea to bring a comforting toy, a snack, and an extra diaper or two, just in case of fussiness. If possible, leave other kids at home, so we can concentrate on the new patient — but if you can bring another adult along, it may free your attention to focus on your child's oral health. Likewise, filling out forms in advance may save time and effort on the day of the visit.

The Checkup

When you and your child are comfortably seated in the office, we'll spend a few minutes getting to know each other and explaining what we will be doing. Then, we'll perform a gentle examination of the mouth. We will be looking for any early signs of dental problems such as tooth decay, and assessing the risk that your child may develop the disease in the future. Often, this kind of risk assessment can help us prevent — and even reverse — the early stages of tooth decay, without any drilling.

Finally, we'll discuss various ways to keep your child's oral health in top condition. For instance, we may talk about how diet, eating habits and oral hygiene practices can help prevent tooth decay, the most common chronic disease of childhood. That's an important subject for everyone — even more so if your child is at greater risk. If any treatments (such as fluoride) are needed, we will explain what they are and why we recommend them. We will also review tips on cleaning and brushing effectively, and we'll schedule a follow-up visit as required.

Many habits are developed early in life. That's why it's important to “get it done by age one.” So when it's time for your child's first visit… don't hesitate! You'll be glad you came in.

Drs. Lakas & Shaeffer, DDS

  • Drs. Lakas & Shaeffer/Clarendon Family Dentistry - 1301 N. Highland St., Arlington, VA 22201 Phone: (703) 522-8894

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