When should I bring my child to the dentist?
Prevention is better than cure. This saying fits perfectly to children’s oral health. The Australian Dental Association’s recommendation is to take your child to the dentist shortly after the eruption of the first baby teeth, or around 12 months of age.
What will the dentist do?
1. Look at any teeth and gums that are through, to make sure they are healthy
2. Determine if there are any signs of mal – alignment in the jaw or face
3. Provide information about brushing, fluoride and diet to the parent or guardian
Finding the signs of early childhood decay is key. If the decay is left for long periods of time it will worsen the outcome for the tooth. Initially, it will look like white patches on the teeth, often close to the gum line. You won’t be able to clean it off. Eventually they will break down further forming holes.
What if my child has never been to a dentist?
The first dental visit for a child will usually determine how they feel for the rest of their lives about a dentist. By preparing the child before their visit, you can help alleviate fears.
• Share happy stories with your child about the dentist
• Play dentist at home with your child – pretend to count teeth
• Let the dentist know of medical or psychological conditions your child may have
• Make sure your child is rested before the visit
• Don’t use negative words eg. Hurt, shot, needle or drill.
• Don’t pass on your anxiety about the dentist to your child. Eg. Don’t say “It’ll be okay, the dentist won’t hurt you”
• Don’t be concerned if your child cries a little. Very young children may act this way, they will be won over by a good clinician