Timing of your child’s first visit
The question of “when should I take my child to the dentist” is a very common question. Please don’t wait until there is a problem before taking your child to the dentist.
Because we believe prevention is better than cure, we like to see children at around their first birthday or when their first tooth appears. This is because many many dental problems can be prevented with a little education. Now of course we won’t expect a 12 month old to sit in the dental chair, this visit is more about advice regarding teeth care and diet. We can help you with preventive strategies before decay occurs to prevent it. Advice given at this early age may impact on your child’s dental health for life!
First Visit Preparation
We want the first visit to be a positive one.
How your child reacts at the dentist is often related to how parents feel about the dentist. If the parent is anxious, then the child is likely to be the same. The best way of preparing a child for their visit is to tell them about it but don’t go into too much detail.
- Never tell a child that something won’t hurt. Anxious children will only hear the word ‘hurt’ and this will increase anxiety
- let the dentist explain what will happen. We have ways of explaining treatment in non threatening ways designed to lessen fears
- young children are often fearful. This can be because of anxiety about the unknown, or they may just be shy
- don’t threaten a child with the dentist, or regale them with horror stories
- let the child know that the dentist is there to help them take good care of their teeth and well being
What to tell your child
- Like toothbrushing, going to the dentist should be a normal part of growing up.
- Try to be positive and matter of fact about the routine nature of visiting the dentist.
- Avoid going into detail about threatening procedures.
- Try not to use words such as needle or drill. Your dentist tries her utmost to treat children using non frightening terms.
- The first visit is for a look and a talk. Dr Linnett will count your child’s teeth with a tooth brush and mouth mirror
- Children have amazing radar for picking up on parent’s fears. If you are anxious about going to the dentist, please do not mention this in front of your child
The Initial Consultation
To make your visit easier, download our new patient form print and complete at home. Please bring this to your first appointment. Dr Linnett will go through this with you especially details of medical history, past dental treatment and diet.
Your family dentist may refer your child for specialist management.
Often anxious children may be treated using simple paediatric behaviour management techniques such as “tell show do.”
For the very young or very frightened child, we also offer treatment under happy gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen sedation).
In cases where extensive dental treatment is necessary, your child may require treatment under general anaesthetic.