“When should I bring my child for their first dental visit?” is a question that we are frequently asked.
It’s ideal for children to visit a dentist when parents go for their check-ups. Children can meet the dentist, dental staff and become familiar with the equipment in the treatment rooms. Child –friendly dentists will take time to talk to your child and get to know them so, when it’s time for them to have a dental visit, everyone and everything is familiar, friendly and low-key.
Generally children have their first check-ups around two to three years of age but your dentist may have been checking out your child’s teeth as part of a game with them since they were much younger.
At Renton Dental Paddington, we have lots of toys and children’s books in our reception area with a welcoming play space. Dr Renton is a dad himself with four children and Dr Power is an aunty. Both are genuinely fond of children and passionate about children’s dental health.
Sometimes parents may have a concern about their children’s teeth or a child may complain of pain so an appointment needs to be made specifically for them.
If you are bringing your child for a dental visit, as part of your appointment or as their own procedure, it’s a good idea to spend some time preparing beforehand.
To ensure good oral health for your children, you can:
- Talk with your child generally about teeth – encouraging them to look at or count your teeth or theirs gets them used to looking at teeth.
- Let them see you cleaning your teeth and encourage them to have their own toothbrush. Because children don’t develop the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth competently until around the age of 8 years old, you should still help them or finish the process for them.
- Talk about what your child can expect when they come for a dental visit – For example – the dentist will have a look at your teeth with a tiny mirror, there will be a bright light, you will sit in a special chair that rises up and down etc
- Avoid saying things like “The dentist won’t hurt you”. Even if you are nervous yourself about dental treatment, try not to say negative things within your child’s hearing. Focus on promoting strong, healthy teeth that look great and the dentist as the helper to achieve these goals. Speak with relatives or friends as well to encourage them to be positive about your child’s dental visit.
- Be selective if choosing reading books about dental visits to read to children. Some books may have illustrations or information that may make your child nervous.
- Sing along with songs about teeth – For example The Wiggles’song “Open wide, look inside at the dentist” is very catchy and fun and has a positive message.
If you are concerned about the cost of a dental visit, there is a government scheme which is administered through Medicare for children between the ages of 2 and 17 years. If you contact Medicare, they can advise you about your eligibility.
It’s never too late to start teaching children to look after their teeth. It’s something we at Renton Dental feel very positively about and we love to help children have a rewarding experience when they visit us.
Good dental health can be a way of life developed in childhood, with many benefits enjoyed into adulthood.