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Dr. Cynthia Pelley
Call us today at (503) 235-0313

Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
Sellwood Location

8708 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0313
Click Here for Directions

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First Dental Visit

Our office, as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends that your child visit the pediatric dentist by their first birthday.

Before the First Dental Visit

The most beneficial thing that you can do to help your child before their first, or any dental visit, is to talk about the dental office in a positive light. There are so many good things to focus on about coming to see Dr. Cynthia Pelley, that it can almost certainly be a trip to be excited about. Act relaxed when talking about going to the dentist, the same way you would when you talk about going to a restaurant or a friend's house. Remind them that a trip to the dental office is a sign that they are growing up and have something to be proud of.

When talking about the dental office, avoid making mention of pain, or discomfort in any way. It can be easy to say something like, “Don’t worry sweetie, it won't hurt a bit!” While this sentence has great intentions, it contains some verbiage that often causes kids to be worried. By mentioning that they shouldn't worry, it implies that there is something to be potentially worried over. Mentioning “pain” or the potential for “hurt” is another thing that can cause your child undue stress and can sometimes be the root of dental phobias.

It’s not a bad idea to avoid making mention of needles or getting a shot. We have much experience in explaining our processes to kids as we are working with them and know exactly how to diffuse these issues while maintaining your kid’s trust.

If you child expresses fear, just be reassuring and focus on all the good things that can come from a dental visit. They will get to see the inside of their mouth, and they might get to learn (roughly) when their adult teeth are coming in! The important thing is to expect your child to do well, and trust us to build a positive relationship with them that is built on trust.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

During your first visit to our office, we will review your child’s medical and dental records and address all concerns that you have about their oral health. We will take them on an introductory tour of our office to help make them feel welcome and at ease with us and their surroundings. Getting to learn about all the tools we have can be just the thing that helps a nervous child to become interested and forget their worries.
We will gently examine their whole mouth, including:
•  Tongue
•  Teeth
•  Palate or roof of the mouth
•  Gums

A professional dental cleaning will follow, where we go to work removing dental plaque and tartar that they may have missed during their at-home cleanings. We will brush their teeth and floss them and finish the cleaning process by polishing their teeth. Depending on the age of your child we may take some X-rays of their mouth to determine the progression and positioning of their adult teeth. Using X-rays, we are also able to detect issues like decay between their teeth. We will also demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth. We always encourage questions from both you and your child, as curiosity about dental practices leads to a better informed, and healthier patient!

Can I Stay With My Child During Their Appointment?

Unlike many pediatric dental practices, we are happy to accommodate you if you would like to sit with your child throughout their stay at . We firmly believe that you play the most important role in your child’s oral health. It is critical that you understand all of the most up-to-date brushing and flossing techniques. After all, you are the one making the appointments and helping them learn how to brush their teeth, if you want to be part of the visit, we are happy to oblige.


Some kids don’t cry or worry at all about going to the dentist, others do. If your child starts crying over coming in to see us, please don’t worry or stress. Just because they are crying, it doesn’t mean that this is the beginning of a life-long phobia of dental work! Your reaction to their crying will make the biggest difference in the long term, so stay calm and reassure them. We are well-trained in comforting kids who aren’t pleased to be in our office. After coming to your child will associate our office with learning and a balloon/toy that follows every appointment – pretty soon they will look forward to visiting us.

No matter what their reaction is, it’s important that they are rewarded with kind words of encouragement upon the completion of a successful visit. Being told that they did a good job and that you are proud of them can go a long way in making it easy to return for future appointments.

Guide for Success at Your Child’s First Dental Visit

We understand that your child isn’t the only one who might feel some nerves about their first visit to our office. Parents are sometimes worried about how things will go on their first visit to our office, but there is no need to worry! We are strongly focused on giving you and your kids an enjoyable experience that will help to build their trust and yours.

The following are some helpful tips.

Be Positive

It’s a lot easier for your child to remain calm, cool, and collected if you appear to be. Don’t offer to bribe your child and never use a dental visit as a threat for bad behavior!

Set a Good Example at Home

Children will naturally want to imitate you because you are their role model. When they see you brushing and flossing every day, they will want to join in. If you make it a habit of rinsing your mouth out with water after every meal, there is a good chance your kids will ask why, and join in. Most importantly, when your kids see you get excited about your dental visit, they will get excited about their own!

Make the First Visit an Adventure

When they learn that you are excited to explore our office, there is a good chance that they will get excited too, even if they don’t show it. Come in a little bit early to explore our waiting area where we have tons of fun stuff to do and see!

Don’t Overexplain

It’s guaranteed that your kids will ask you what will happen during their dental appointment. It’s important always, to tell the truth, but also don’t give them too much information to digest on the subject. Avoid using words like:

•  Hurt
•  Drill
•  X-ray
•  Shot
•  Injection
•  Worry

Many times, comments that are meant to be reassuring can plant the seeds of doubt in a child’s mind. When you say something like, “You have nothing to worry about, the dentist won’t hurt you.” there is a good chance that they will pick up on the connotation behind the words “hurt” and “worry”.

Our Goal

We have designed first visits to to offer positive experiences to your kids from start to finish. We want to provide your kids with the quality dental care that they deserve and help them to fashion great oral hygiene habits that will help to keep their teeth healthy for the rest of their life. We cater specifically to each child and want to get to know them right away so that we can do a great job for years to come.

We have a “No restraint” policy, which means that we will never use harsh words or resort to physically restraining your child under any circumstances. We firmly believe that this is how fear of the dentist begins and will never betray your o your child’s trust in this manner. We also have an “Open door” policy. Anytime your child has a dental emergency; we will do our very best to make time to see them right away.

Pediatric dentistry has made a lot of exciting changes over the past few decades, but the one thing that hasn't changed is our commitment to giving you and your child a positive experience.

Please call us today at (503) 235-0313 to schedule an appointment.

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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry - Cynthia Pelley | | (503) 235-0313
8708 SE 17th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202