Establishing a positive relationship with the dentist and maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine from a young age is important. Whilst many children experience some fear or anxiety prior to visiting the dentist, as a parent it can be helpful to explain the process and importance of regular dental visits. This will help to allay fears and make children more comfortable about attending their dentist appointments, giving them the best chance of maintaining a healthy smile for life. If you are the parent of a young child who is visiting the dentist for the first time, here’s an overview on how to prepare and what to expect during your child’s appointment.
When Should my Child Visit the Dentist?
The Australian Dental Association advises that children should visit their dentist as soon as their first tooth appears, or prior to their first birthday. Even though your child may not have many visible teeth, visiting the dentist will help them to gain familiarity with the process whilst also ensuring that any potential issues with gum and tissue development are identified early.
The First Visit – What to Expect
Sydney Park Dental understand that visiting the dentist is a new and potentially confronting experience for young children, which is why our dentists take a gentle and patient approach to ensure our young patients feel comfortable whilst in the chair. The first dental visit is a relaxed, quick and rewarding introduction to a new and important part of dental care. In many cases younger children may prefer to sit in their parent or guardians lap whilst the dentist examines their teeth, though there is always the option of sitting in the dental chair for more adventurous children.
The first appointment involves the dentist counting your child’s teeth with the aid of a small dental mirror. Your dentist may ask your child to say ‘Aah’, as this allows them to gain a better view of the mouth and throat. To help your child become familiar with this phrase and the examination process, you may wish to practice at home prior to their visit. Your dentist will confirm that your child’s teeth and gums are developing as expected, and any issues such as plaque or tartar build up will be identified and treated.
The final step involves a quick clean, followed by the application of fluoride to strengthen teeth and safeguard against bacteria. We will also demonstrate proper brushing technique so that both child and parent understand how to look after young teeth at home.
Are Dental X-Rays Taken at the First Appointment?
X-rays are typically not taken during the first dental visit. Intra-oral X-rays are usually taken at around 4-6 years of age when the permanent molar teeth erupt.
Preparing for Your Child’s Dental Appointment
Visiting the dentist is a new experience for children, so as a parent you may wish to try some of the following tips to reinforce a positive mindset and alleviate any anxiety they may be experiencing.
- Highlight the importance of routine dental appointments – Let your child know that people of all ages visit the dentist on a 6-12 monthly basis, even mum and dad. You may even wish to bring your child along to one of your appointments to familiarise them with the surroundings.
- Stay Positive – The first dental visit is very straightforward and non-invasive. Try to avoid displaying any signs of apprehension and reassure your child that all will be OK.
- Mum/Dad is there for support – Let your child know that you will be right by their side at all times.
Book a Children’s Dental Appointment Today
Is your child due for a check-up? Contact Sydney Park Dental today to book an appointment with one of our experienced and gentle dentists.