A Child’s First Dental Visit
A trip to the dentist really doesn’t have to be scary for your little one.
What happens at a child's first dental visit?
Watch this video to find out more!
What happens at the first appointment?
Have a chat
Feel free to talk to us ahead of time and let us know a bit about your child’s personality. Do they get a bit scared or defiant in new situations? Are there any issues we should know about that may impact the appointment? The more we know, the more we can help to make the experience as positive as possible for you and your child.
Take a ride
Once your child is called in, the dentist will introduce themselves, and ask your child to jump into the chair for a ride. We’ve got a flat-screen television on the ceiling, so your child can lay back and watch their favourite shows to help them feel more at ease. This isn’t the norm for dental clinics, but we like to make visits fun.
Down to business
The dentist will give your child a look at their gloves, mask, and glasses, and ask them how many teeth they have. Then it’s onto the tooth count and examining their jaw, gums, and bite. Much like an adult appointment, the dentist will use specialised instruments to clean away any plaque or tartar that’s built up on your child’s teeth.
The dentist will demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques, and discuss common children’s dental problems such as decay, grinding, and teeth alignment with you and your child. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
A dentist can also:
- Fix damaged teeth from trauma or decay
- Extract teeth
- Treat gum conditions
- Make customised mouth guards for sport
A dental record is created and some photos may be taken to help with comparisons and explanations. A treatment and management plan will be put together to treat any issues and keep your child’s teeth and mouth nice and healthy.
A trip to the dentist is a big deal for kids. So at the end of your appointment, we reward your child with a goodie bag to keep their smile bright and healthy.
Here’s what’s inside:
- New toothbrush
- Toy (tooth timer, toothbrush holder etc)
How to prepare your child for the dentist
Going to the dentist can be a little scary for kids. Here are some tips you can use to help your little ones feel more at ease.
Role playing at home is a great way to help your child feel more at ease for their appointment. You can take turns being the dentist or patient. It’s fun to act out the whole thing, first coming into the waiting room, then calling in the patient. Get your child to lie back on the couch with their mouth open while you count their teeth, then take a rare opportunity to lie down yourself while your teeth are counted by “the dentist”. (We parents take what rest we can get, eh?)
If your child doesn’t quite know what’s going on, show them with the help of some dentist-friendly media. “Peppa Pig” and “Daniel Tiger” have some great episodes about a child’s first visit to the dentist. There are also many wonderful books and online resources available.
Come say hello
If your child is feeling nervous, you can always bring them in for a visit before your appointment. Our staff are friendly, and we have a range of children’s books in our reception area to help introduce your child to the idea of “the dentist”. Also, it’s important to not let a past negative experience of your own impact your child’s feelings around going to the dentist. We’re all about creating positive experiences.
When should your child have their first teeth cleaning?
Your child’s first dental cleaning should be once most of their baby teeth have come through. This is usually around the toddler years – between 12 and 36 months. Having said that, your child should still be coming in for check-ups from around 12 months or when their first teeth start coming through.
You’re welcome to bring your child in at your next dental appointment for a ride in the chair and to familiarise themselves with what we do as oral health care professionals!
What causes tooth decay in children?
Tooth decay/cavities are one of the most common children’s dental care issues. Studies show that 42% of children aged between 2 and 11 have had dental cavities in their primary (baby) teeth.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth that becomes plaque. This sticky substance can break down tooth enamel leading to holes in the teeth called cavities. A dentist can diagnose tooth decay/cavities in your children with an examination and X-rays. Tooth decay/cavities in children can be treated by removing the decayed part of the tooth and replacing it with a filling.
Is your child at risk of tooth decay?
All children have bacteria in their mouth. But there are factors that can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay such as:
- A diet high in starches and sugars
- Frequent snacking
- Drinking from a water supply with limited or no fluoride
- Poor oral hygiene
- Limited saliva flow
5 signs your child should visit a kid-friendly dentist:
It’s time to book a dental appointment if your child is experiencing any of the following:
- Teeth and gum sensitivity to food and drink
- Bad breath
- White, brown or black stains on the tooth’s surface
- Bleeding gums
Oral hygiene for babies
Even if your child’s teeth haven’t popped through yet, you can still clear away harmful bacteria by gently running a clean, damp washer or gauze over their gums and tongue. Warm water works best.
How do you teach a child oral hygiene?
Getting a child to brush their teeth can be difficult, especially when they are growing into their independence. It is important that parents allow their child this self-sufficiency, however, it is integral that the teeth are still cleaned to a satisfactory standard. This is why we recommend that parents do the ‘second clean’ when the child is still young, just to double-check that areas aren’t being missed.
Setting up a chart to mark off morning and night brushing can be an effective way of promoting the twice a day habit. Integrating flossing in your child’s oral hygiene routine is important, as between the teeth are often the first place decay starts. Having your child lay back on your lap on the couch or on the bed and flossing their molars is an excellent way to introduce them to flossing.