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Bringing your child for their first dental visit

We often have parent’s ask us questions about introducing their child to the dentist. When should they bring their child for their first dental visit, what is involved in the visit and How do I best prepare my child for the visit?

When to bring your child in for their first dental visit?

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends a child’s first dental visit to be around 12 months of age or around 6 months after the first teeth have come through. Obviously at this age the child is not very compliant and may not be able to follow our instructions. At this age we usually recommend the parents bring their toddler with them to their routine check and clean and we will have a quick check of the teeth as best we can, usually with the parent holding the child on their lap.
From around the age of 2 – 3 years we would start booking a separate appointment for your child. At this time we can spend a bit more time with them getting used to the environment.

What is involved in the visit?

At DDC you will be first met by the friendly staff at the front desk where the children will be shown to our playful toy room. At this time we will ask the parent of guardian to fill out our comprehensive medical and dental history form. After settling in a little one of our Oral Health Therapists will come to greet you and your child/children.
We always try to make the appointments for children as fun and comfortable as possible, for this reason the first dental check is usually a short visit where we introduce the child to the new environment in a fun way.
When bringing the child through to the dental room we endeavour to follow through with the “tell, show, do” approach where the new patient is shown the dental objects in non- threatening circumstances. We try to explain what we are doing with metaphors that a child can relate to such as :

  •  The dental chair “ Ride in our space chair” or ‘Ride in our Magic Chair”
  •  Mouth mirror “counting mirror”
  •  Dental probe “counting stick)”
  •  Water spray – “water pistol” “shower”
  •  The dental light – “Shine our sunshine in your mouth”

When we are looking in your child’s mouth we will be looking for any areas of concern, such as decay, inflamed gums and how the teeth bite together. If your child is willing we can also do a polish and fluoride treatment.
Once this is completed we will reward your child with a prize from our prize box. We then will have a chat with the parents regarding oral health tips including brushing, flossing, and diet. If there are any areas of concern the Oral Health Therapist will discuss treatment options with you.

How Do I prepare my child for their visit?

There are many ways you can prepare your child for their first visit at the dentist. As adults it is generally assumed that the dentist is not anyone’s favourite place to be. It is important when talking to your child about the visit that everything is kept positive. Avoid using terms like nervous or scared when talking about the visit.

We find that some parents found practicing going to the dentist to be helpful. Getting your child to open for you while you count their teeth, (maybe you could put some sunnies on and shine a torch in their mouth while counting their teeth). Otherwise letting the child know why we come to the dentist and what we will do, for example…

“Tomorrow we are going to the dentist so we can make sure your teeth are nice and strong for eating (their favourite food). You will get to go on the magic space chair that will lift you up and lay you back, The dentist will then shine their sunshine in your mouth so they can count your teeth to see how many teeth you have and check how clean they are, because clean teeth are strong teeth. ”

The key to preparing your child for their first dental visit is to stay positive. Most children will not have a dental fear unless they are given reason to be concerned, so setting up for a positive experience regardless of the parent’s anxieties will help make the child relaxed and comfortable in the dental setting.

If you would like to cook your child in for their first dental check up with the lovely Ellen or Shenae contact us to arrange a time.