As a general rule of thumb, your child’s first dental visit should happen before they reach 12 months old or, if it happens, once your child’s first tooth becomes visible. It is easy to assume that the first dental appointment does not need to happen until your child has a full set of teeth – but the reality is, the earlier the better.
Keep in mind that dentistry in not just about teeth, it is also about gums, lips and the inside of the mouth. During appointments, your dentist is examining the entire mouth for preventative issues. So, if you notice anything that you think is out of the ordinary in your child’s mouth, it is recommended to book straight away. Prevention is better than cure and early dental visits will help protect your child.
Your child’s first dental visit
It is highly likely that your child might kick up a fuss during their first dental appointment. Do not worry as this is completely normal, and the dental team is professionally trained and equipped to ensure your child is safe and comfortable. Just keep in mind that this is a momentous occasion and a milestone in both your child’s life and yours as their parent.
Your dentist will likely take a full medical history and look at factors such as your child’s overall health and development. Use the opportunity to become as well informed about your child’s oral health as possible. Your dentist may discuss teething, brushing techniques, your child’s first tooth, how their bite may develop, their gums and cheeks and nutritional advice.
Tips on how to prepare for your child’s first dental visit
Do not reinforce fear or anxiety regarding the dentist – threats are unlikely to change behaviour but will almost certainly instil the dentist as a deterrent. Also, keep in mind that your child is also already being brave by going to the dentist, so do not actively use the dentist as a warning or punishment.
Additionally, do not promise it will not hurt – nor tell them that it will hurt. As a parent, you play an important role in making dentist appointments a positive and enjoyable experience. Try using positive terms such as ‘the Tooth Fairy’s friend’ or ‘going for a ride in the dental chair’ to instil positivity for your child.
The Carine Glades Dental Care team are experts in dental care for people of all ages. We recommend that your child’s first dental visit should happen soon after their first tooth shows. Early visits help your child become comfortable with having our dentists look at their smiles and allow us to intervene early on if problems should arise. Contact the team today on (08) 9448 3922 to book your child’s first dental appointment.