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A Child’s First Dental Visit

A trip to the dentist really doesn’t have to be scary for your little one. To put you and your child at ease, we’ve pulled together a few top tips to ensure that their first dentist appointment goes off without a hitch!

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What happens at the first appointment?

Smiling Boy in Dentist ChairDuring your child’s first appointment they are asked to jump up and take a ride in our chair. Children love our flat-screen television on the ceiling so that they can lay back, and be immersed in their favourite characters.

Philip shows your child his gloves, mask, and glasses before asking them about how many teeth they have. Once the teeth have been counted, a full dental record is created, and photos may also be taken for comparisons and explanations. Issues such as decay, teeth alignment, and grinding are all discussed. We then put together a treatment and management plan.

At the end of the visit, your child is rewarded with a goodie bag containing their very own new toothbrush, toothpaste, balloon, sticker and toy (e.g. tooth timer, toothbrush holder, etc.).

In addition to their goodie bag, in August, all of our first-time kids will receive a Play-Doh Dentist kit – we have 20 to give away!

And don’t forget, as part of the Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS), you could be eligible for up to $1,000 in basic dental services!
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How do we introduce them to dentistry?

There are a variety of strategies we use to help children feel comfortable at the dentist. The first is to create shared knowledge by asking questions, for example, “Do you know what a dentist does?”

We use easy mathematics, asking the child to predict how many teeth they have, and then asking them to help us count them as the dentist looks at each tooth. Children are so inquisitive that the idea of how many teeth they have is an exciting prospect to them.

Another strategy is our ‘tell, show, do’ approach. Firstly, we ‘tell’ – explain what we are going to be doing during the visit. Then we ‘show’ the child all the instruments and equipment. Next, we run through practice, ‘do’, so they can experience what each step feels like.
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Dentist Treating a Child

How old should your child be?

It is ideal if your child could have their first check-up between the ages of 12 and 24 months. You could even start by bringing them to your appointments so they can see what happens at a dental appointment – they might even score a ride on our dental chair!

Often visiting the dentist at a younger age helps to eliminate misconceptions about what to expect at their appointment.[/notebox]
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How can you prepare?

Parent participation is paramount, as most of the hard work in keeping children’s teeth in good condition is done at home. Role-playing at home is an excellent way to help a child prepare for their first dental visit. Take turns with your child at pretending to be the ‘dentist’ while the ‘patient’ opens their mouth and teeth are counted. There are also some excellent examples of first dental visits on television, such as Daniel Tiger and Peppa Pig, as well as many good books and online resources.

You are welcome to come in at any time leading up to your child’s visit and read one of our dental books with them. We have a selection of children’s books in our reception area introducing them to the concept of the dentist. Talk openly about what to expect at the dentist, however, we ask that parents please do not allow any of their own negative past experiences to impact their children’s views.
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Dentistry patient with sunglasses

How do you teach a child oral hygiene?

Getting a child to brush their teeth can be difficult, especially when they are growing into their independence. It is important that parents allow their child this self-sufficiency, however, it is integral that the teeth are still cleaned to a satisfactory standard. This is why we recommend that parents do the ‘second clean’ when the child is still young, just to double-check that areas aren’t being missed.

Setting up a chart to mark off morning and night brushing can be an effective way of promoting the twice a day habit. Integrating flossing in your child’s oral hygiene routine is important, as between the teeth are often the first place decay starts.

Having your child lay back on your lap on the couch or on the bed and flossing their molars is an excellent way to introduce them to flossing.

Contact Us Today to Get Started!

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General Dentistry Camp Hill | Vital Dental Care | (07) 3152 7622