It is a question many parents ask and the answer is often surprising! It is easy to assume that until children have all of their teeth it is not necessary for them to visit the dentist. As soon as teeth grow into the mouth they are at risk of developing problems, so it is recommended that the first dental visit be timed around 12 months of age. This visit is a momentous occasion and at Medland Dental we celebrate this milestone with a special prize.
The earlier a child visits the dentist the better, as prevention is always better than cure.
Our caring and gentle Medland dentists are highly trained to ensure your child is as comfortable as possible for their first visit. Research has shown that positive dental experiences from an early age contribute to better dental health long term.
Preparing for your child’s first dental visit
Children can often be fearful or wary of new experiences, so therefore it is important to properly prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist. Using positive terms for the visit such as ‘going for a ride in the dental chair’, ‘counting your teeth’ and ‘visiting the tooth fairy’s friend’ are useful in portraying the dentist as a fun place for children.
Don’t use the dentist as a threat, deterrent or punishment and refrain from using negative words like ‘needle’ or ‘drill’ and sharing stories about bad dental experiences.
If you are nervous or anxious about the visit kids will pick up on this, so try to stay positive and let your Medland dentist look after your child. Don’t tell your child to be brave, don’t bribe them or tell them that it won’t hurt (or that it will). You could ‘play dentist’ with your child in the lead up to their first visit and explain that the dentist looks after our teeth so we can eat, talk, smile and laugh.
More tips can be found in the Australian Dental Association's Factsheet on "When should my child first see the dentist".
What to expect from the first dental visit
Use this first visit as an opportunity to become well informed about your child’s dental health and to help form good habits that they will thank you for later in life.
Your dentist will take a full medical history and assess their overall health and development. Dentistry isn’t just about teeth – your Medland dentist will check your child’s entire mouth including the soft tissues, gums and lips. They will also discuss the development of the primary (baby) teeth and the bite (how your child’s teeth fit together), brushing techniques, nutritional advice, habits such as thumb sucking as well as your child’s risk of decay and how to prevent it from developing.
Our Medland dental team are experienced in engaging with children on a level that they can understand which ensures optimal co-operation and subsequently optimal dental health. Your Medland dentist has your child’s best interests at heart and we aim to assist in helping them maintain a healthy smile for life.