What happens at your child’s first dental appointment?
Any ‘first’ can be daunting for you and your child. Each child is different and while one child might float through their first dental appointment with smiles and giggles, another might be anxious and upset. Here’s what you can expect from your first dental appointment at Warragul Dental Care.
We want to make your child’s first experience at the Dentist positive, stress-free and fun!
We’ll get your child involved in counting their teeth with the Dentist and offer you a free goody bag to take home. You may also be eligible for the Medicare Child Benefits Scheme which will assist with the cost of appointments.
At Warragul Dental Care our aim is prevention. We want to work with you and your family to create great dental habits that will prevent problems later in life.
What age should a child come in for a first dental visit?
The Australian Dental Association recommend that a child has their first dental appointment within 6 months of their first tooth appearing, or before their first birthday. Whichever comes first.
We’re always happy for you to bring your child in for a visit to get them used to the sights and sounds of our dental practice. We have baby facilities, a play area, and a team that love playing with kids!
Easing your child’s nerves at the first dental visit
If your child is nervous, or you think a little helper would make the visit smoother, we can always make sure Dogtor Bruce (our dental therapy dog) is on duty. Bruce adores children and will happily sit beside them during their appointment.
We also have full access to Netflix (the team love Peppa Pig) and comfy headphones for them to wear.
When your child has finished their first visit they get to choose a gift from the treasure box!
What to expect at your child’s first dental visit
We recommend you pop into the Practice for a visit before your first appointment. We can give you a guided tour and introduce you to the team.
This will help you and your child become familiar with the surroundings.
When it comes to your child’s first appointment you can expect us to:
- Let your child sit (or ‘ride’!) in the dentist chair for an examination
- If the chair isn’t too appealing (or they’re too small) we’ll examine your child’s mouth while he or she sits on your lap facing you. The Dentist will sit in a chair opposite you. You can then slowly lower your child’s head into the Dentist’s lap so he can examine the teeth.
- Count the teeth. Barry, our cuddly toy helper, is a big help with this
- If your child is very young we’ll just get them used to opening their mouth and have a little play in the chair while we examine the teeth
If your child gets anxious or upset, we’ll stop immediately. It’s important that the first visit is positive and fun!
We’ll chat to you about your child’s oral health including any oral habits such as sucking. We’ll explain the impact of diet on your child’s teeth and check you’re getting enough fluoride, offer advice on how to care for your child’s teeth, including tips on brushing and explain what will happen in your child’s mouth as they grow up.
Words not to use before your child’s first visit!
Here are our 5 don’ts to make your child’s dental visit plain sailing:
1. Don’t tell your child to be brave (they already are!)
2. Don’t bribe your child
3. Don’t tell your child that it won’t hurt, or mention the words ‘hurt’ or ‘pain’ (‘don’t worry, it won’t hurt’)
4. Don’t use the dentist as a deterrent or punishment (‘if you’re not good I’ll send you to the Dentist‘)
5. Don’t be anxious yourself
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
It’s never too young to introduce basic tooth cleaning concepts to your kids and luckily most toddlers love to copy their parents…so just let them follow you.
Before you know it the daily teeth clean will be a normal part of the routine. By age three or four your child should be able to brush his or her own teeth…with a little help of course. And at some point your child will be able to brush their teeth on their own. This will start at a different age for each child but most children under eight will need some guidance.
When brushing your child’s teeth we recommend:
- Brushing at least twice a day (morning before breakfast and before bed)
- Set a fun timer and brush for two minutes, focus on the chewing surfaces and back teeth
- Use a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste and remember to rinse and spit after brushing
- Don’t share brushes between children, or let them use your brush
- Check that your child’s brush is suitable for their age and they can handle it easily
- Replace your child’s toothbrush every three or four months, or when it starts to show wear.
Great teeth for life
Looking after your children’s teeth from a young age has so many great outcomes. We hope it will mean never having a fear of the Dentists but more importantly, it will mean your kids get to keep their own teeth for life. That means no nasty treatments and a low-cost, low-maintenance life for your children’s teeth.