When should my child first visit the dentist?
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends that your child begins having appointments with a dentist when their first baby tooth appears, or when they reach the age of one – whichever comes first. It may seem unnecessary to bring your child to the dentist at such an early age, but the fact is that baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth.
While we all eventually lose our baby teeth, there can be consequences if we lose them too early due to poor oral hygiene. It’s handy to think of baby teeth as ‘space savers’ for our adult teeth, ensuring there is room for them to come through when it’s naturally time.
If we lose our baby teeth too soon, we may lose the space designated for a particular adult tooth, which could impede its eruption or cause it to erupt in the wrong place.
What’s involved in my child’s first visit?
Generally, the first visit involves:
- A thorough and gentle examination of the teeth, bite, jaw, gums and any oral issues so that we can begin to monitor growth and development.
- Gently cleaning and polishing teeth and removing plaque and tartar build-up.
- Educating you and your child on the proper oral hygiene and how to look after their teeth.
- If necessary, preventative treatments such as fissure sealing.
It’s important that your child sees a dentist for the first time before any issues arise. This way, we can introduce your child to dentistry with a gentle, non-invasive check-up, and spend time establishing a positive relationship with the child.
Making your child’s first visit fun and stress-free
We regularly see our dentist over our entire life (or at least we should!), so it’s very important that a positive, healthy relationship is established from the get-go. At Dental on Beams, no one understands this better than us, and our amazing team has created a fun and welcoming atmosphere for little kids and big kids alike.
Not only will your child get to go for a ride in the dental chair – and use the controls! – but they will also get to pick a present out of our special treasure chest at the end of the appointment. We want our clinic to be a place your child looks forward to visiting.
For the parents, it’s important that you don’t talk about seeing the dentist in a negative way. For instance, comments like ‘if you don’t brush your teeth, I’ll have to take you to the dentist’ have the potential to make your child fearful of going to the dentist and seeing it as a punishment.
Don’t do the following things:
- Don’t be anxious, or at least don’t allow your child to see that you’re anxious
- Don’t talk about negative experiences you’ve had at the dentist
- Don’t tell them to be brave (or they’ll think that going to the dentist requires bravery)
- Don’t tell your child that it might hurt
- Don’t bribe your child
Be positive and have fun. Many of the ‘firsts’ in your child’s life are wonderful occasions, and there’s no reason their first trip to the dentist can’t be one too.