Office Visits

Our practice is committed to providing you and your family with safe, gentle, high-quality dental care. We understand that your child may feel anxious about visiting the dentist. We are sensitive to children’s needs and it is our goal to make your child feel comfortable visiting our practice while providing the best care possible.

Your first visit is all about your child — his or her comfort, happiness, and health.

During the examination, Dr. Merlo will check a child’s teeth for decay, examine his or her bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, and oral tissues.
During your child’s first visit, we will review their dental and medical history forms. Dental x-rays will be taken, if necessary and age appropriate, following the guidelines set by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Then, Dr. Merlo will review the x-rays, thoroughly examine your child’s teeth, bite, and mouth to check for cavities, early signs of tooth decay, malocclusion, gum disease, and any other oral issues. We will formulate an individual treatment plan, provide you with oral hygiene and dietary recommendations, and answer any questions you may have. At your child’s next visit, or after any necessary dental treatment is completed, one of our hygienists will clean and polish their teeth and apply topical fluoride.

Our office, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a "Dental Home" for your child by one year of age. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.

You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. If old enough, your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. The less to-do concerning the visit, the better.

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". The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.

We invite you to stay with your child during the initial examination. During future appointments, we suggest that you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience. However, you are welcome to observe your child during treatment. We are all highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety and can usually establish a closer rapport with your child when you are not present. Separation anxiety is common in children, so please try not to be concerned if your child exhibits some negative behavior. This is normal and will soon diminish. Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 3 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed for children.

Our goal is for your child to have the most positive and successful dental visit possible and to gain your child’s confidence and overcome apprehension. Much like a child typically behaves better at school for their teacher, we often find that the appointment is more successful without parental presence. Children can pick up on the fear and anxiety that the parent may feel themselves about dentistry. However, we know that each child is different, and this may not always be the case. We appreciate you trusting our well-trained staff to do what we do best.

We strive to make each and every visit to our office a fun one!

Bring your smile, but also remember to bring these with you to your child’s first appointment:

  • Your completed patient information form
  • Your insurance card

Regular checkups are an important part of maintaining a healthy smile!

The American Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist every six months for regular checkups and routine teeth cleanings to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

We understand that your family has a busy schedule, so when you’re preparing for a dental visit, please remember that an appointment can last between 20 and 40 minutes.