Most paediatric dentists recommend your child sees a dentist when their first tooth erupts. We recommend age 2-3 for your child’s first visit to the dentist. Visiting a dentist from an early age helps to build good habits, promotes good oral health and reduces the chance of tooth decay. When kids develop healthy habits, they will most likely stick with them through adulthood.
When your child has their first dentist visit, we’ll help parents understand the proper ways of cleaning their child’s teeth, to help strengthen their good habits.
Before your visit, there are several steps you should take to ensure that your child gets the best quality of care and to give them the best possible experience.
Find the Right Dentist for Your Child
While there heaps of dentists around the northern suburbs of Melbourne, most of them usually treat adults. A child’s teeth require special attention and dental skills, including a gentle touch and a great bedside manner. At this early age, it’s vital that your son or daughter has a thorough exam along with a pleasant experience.
Many of our young patients have become regulars at the practice because their parents have been long-time patients at Dentists of Ivanhoe Central. Others have come because of the recommendations of their friends and families or even the family’s paediatrician.
That’s tip number 1 – get recommendations from friends, family and the family GP. If your own dentist also treats children, ask them if they have a lot of experience with treating kids or could recommend a kid’s dentist.
Check out the dental practice. Is it child-friendly? Does the waiting area have toys or books that they can play with while waiting for their appointment? Is the staff friendly and accommodating? How do the staff help to make your kids feel comfortable and relaxed?
Before their First Visit
Before your child goes to the dentist, have a sit down with the dentist to learn what to expect.
A visit to the dentist is a new experience for kids, and they have no idea what to expect. One of the issues most kids run into is the ability to sit or lie still for a long enough time to have an exam. Let your kids know why it’s important to see the dentist, and that it will be a fun and enjoyable visit. You can even bring them to your own regular checkup so they can see mum or dad in the dentist’s chair. They trust you, see you are calm and relaxed, so they’ll naturally want to mirror your experience.
What to Expect at Their First Visit
During the first appointment, our gentle dentist will take a look at your child’s teeth, gums, jaw, bite, and oral tissues to see if there are any areas that need attention. Depending on what we find, a gentle cleaning or x-ray may be recommended.
We will also discuss your role as a parent to help with your child’s oral health, including oral development, risk factors for cavities, tooth decay, and ways on how you can take care of your kid’s teeth at home.
Before you leave, we’ll set up their next appointment. Just like adults, children should visit the dentist twice a year. If we didn’t find any issues, we’ll see them back at the dental clinic in six months.
The last thing before you leave is knowing what to do in the case of an emergency – what to do and how to contact the office after hours.
Be a Good Example at Home
If the parents take good care of their teeth, brushing and flossing on a regular basis, kids will notice that, so start with yourself and practice good oral hygiene, and your children will follow suit.
When young kids develop good oral habits, they usually keep up these habits throughout their adult life, so start your children young and take them to the dentist early on. Not only will it keep their pearly whites intact, it will also maintain their confidence as they grow up.