If you are a new or expecting parent, you may have many questions about how to do what’s best for your little one. Understanding when it’s time for the first dentist visit for a child needs to be right up there.
A paediatric dentist, a dentist who specialises in dental care for infants and toddlers, does more than look at your child’s teeth. They also inspect your child’s gums, lips, jaw, and entire mouth as part of a preventative check for abnormalities or early health problems. This is important when you think about how quickly young children develop in such a short time.
Our dentist office here in Mona Vale is equipped for children of all ages. No matter what stage your child is at, we are prepared to give them a positive and stress-free experience.
When Should Your Child See a Dentist for the First Time?
According to the Australian Dental Association, the general rule of thumb is that your child should visit the dentist before they turn 12 months old or when their first tooth appears. Additionally, if you notice something happening in their mouth that seems unusual, the Association recommends that you bring them in a little sooner to be on the safe side.
You should bring that first dentist visit for your child forward if you notice any of these signs:
- Bad breath
- Signs of experiencing pain
- Frequently bleeding or swollen gums
Bringing them in young also lets them become familiar with visiting a dentist. This early visit can reduce the chances of a scary experience once they are a little older.
What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Meeting our friendly team and any children playing in the waiting room gives your child the opportunity to make new friends. The first dental visit also helps them start building up their dental and medical records.
- Taking a complete medical history
- Talking about how, when, and why they need to brush their teeth
- Helping them with any teething or thumb sucking
- Providing you and your child with educational materials on dental hygiene and the life-cycle of baby teeth
- Offering nutritional information on how to grow strong teeth and keep them healthy
- Doing a check of your child’s bite
During the first dental visit with your child, you will have the opportunity to ask our team questions about what to expect as your child matures.
Tips to Make Your Child’s Dentist Visit Easier
Sometimes, you can’t know exactly how a child will react to their first visit to the dentist. However, you can relieve their anxiety by easing them into it and talking positively about the dentist. Try some of these tips to ensure things stay as pleasant and stress-free as possible:
Be a Good Cheerleader
Bringing your child in with encouragement and praise isn’t enough to ensure a positive experience. Because this is something new to them, it helps if you also act as their cheerleader and let them know they have nothing to fear from the visit.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement, both before and after the first dentist visit, helps children create a positive association with visiting the dentist. Try to make dentist days a special, fun time before they arrive and after they leave. You can also use positive reinforcement by talking positively about your own dentist experiences and letting them know it is a normal part of life.
If they have a favourite blanket, toy, or another object that gives them confidence and comfort, be sure to bring that along. Additionally, bring things they may need at the moment, such as water, snacks, spare nappies, and anything else that can make the visit seamless and problem-free.
Give Them a Treat
You can spoil them a little to make sure they have something to look forward to after a dentist appointment. A treat might include a trip to the park, a play date with a friend, or an afternoon doing their favourite activity.
How Often Should Your Child Visit the Dentist?
Generally, it is best to visit every six months. Although, you should discuss this timeline with the dentist regarding what is best for your child based on their individual oral health. If the dentist sees something amiss with your child’s oral health or detects a condition that increases the chance of an oral health issue, they may recommend more frequent visits.
Booking the First Dentist Visit for Your Child
Does your child have their first tooth coming through or are they already 12 months old? Then, it is time to schedule their initial dentist visit. If you notice anything amiss regarding their oral health, such as bad breath or bleeding or swollen gums, make an appointment with our team at the Beaches Dental clinic in Mona Vale.