Your child’s first dental appointment should ideally be around their first birthday, or earlier if there are any dental or oral health concerns. Healthy baby teeth are very important for the formation of healthy adult teeth, as well as to your child’s overall health. DB Dental practitioners are trained to check and treat very young patients.
From two years of age, your child should be having six-monthly dental checks as a regular part of their life. However, if you’re encountering anxiety or resistance from your child to a visit to the dentist, there are ways to minimise this.
Check your own attitude to dental visits
If you’re nervous about dentists, you might be modelling anxiety around the visit for your child. If you struggle to attend regular checkups or get treatment in a timely manner, discuss your concerns with your dentist so you don’t accidentally pass them on. Your DB Dental dentist is trained in helping anxious patients overcome fears and be comfortable with dental treatments.
Before your child’s appointment, don’t talk about things which might happen at the dentist. Talking about drilling, needles, or pain in front of your child is not helpful. Your dentist will explain to them in an appropriate way, should treatment be necessary. If your child has any particular health or emotional issues which may make a visit more complicated, let your dentist know ahead of time.
Make dental visits routine
If your child has regularly visited the dentist since babyhood, then they’re probably comfortable with a dental practice. If you move and need to visit a new practice, perhaps take them in for a pre-checkup visit if possible so they’re familiar with the place, sounds and smells.
Explain that the dentist wants to look in their mouth to make sure their teeth are growing properly, and that their teeth and gums are healthy. Tell them that the dentist will explain everything that happens during the checkup and that you will talk with the dentist afterwards about next steps.
During the checkup
If your child is a baby, you will need to hold them whilst your dentist examines their teeth and mouth. Your baby may cry or fuss, but this doesn’t mean that they are in pain or the dentist should stop. Babies cry for a whole range of reasons, including tiredness, hunger, fear of strangers and other individual reasons. Try and arrange the appointment for your baby or young child at a time when they have eaten, and aren’t over-tired. Your dentist is trained to make your baby as comfortable as possible during the checkup.
Once your child is older, you may be asked to sit out of view or in the waiting room. Giving your child the confidence to sit through their appointment independently fosters healthy dental habits into adulthood.
Once the checkup is complete, your dentist will let you know how things went and whether any further treatment is needed. They may also want to check on your child’s diet and teeth-brushing habits. Other topics might include whether your child has a dummy, or has tongue-thrusting or thumb-sucking habits. These habits can affect dental development, so always let your dentist know how your child is progressing.