A Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
If you have kids, you know that introducing them to new things can be fun, challenging, exciting, frustrating, and so much more all at the same time!
Parents who bring their children in to see us can’t believe how different seeing the dentist is now. Kids find it fun and look forward to their next appointment.
Today, in our society, there are a couple of benefits our children have, that we didn’t have when we were younger. People are becoming more aware of the need for good personal hygiene; parents are becoming more aware that they need to bring their kids to the dentist.
We have the tools now to prevent so many of the problems that many parents experienced as children. Most children with the opportunity to have preventive dentistry grow up to be cavity free with and with no anxiety issues about the dentist.
I made this simple special report to give you a couple of quick, helpful tips that you can use to help your child grow up with healthy teeth, and prevent as many dental problems as possible.
When is the earliest a parent should start bringing their child to the dentist?
Most dental books say when your child begins to have teeth, but in practice this doesn’t work out so well. Parents these days are looking in their children’s mouths and keeping a good eye on things. Unless there is a concern it seems to work best to have our first meeting when the child is about 2½ to 3. At this first meeting we treat it more as a social visit. They sit in the dental chair and have a ride up and down. We lean them back. If they let me look in their mouth and count their teeth, we will. If they let me polish their teeth we will.
Most kids enjoy the experience. We use our judgment as to how much or how little to do. Sometimes we have a parent in the chair with the child on their lap. Other times we have all the siblings in the chair at the same time. Sometimes it is more of a play with the chair. We do as much as we can always within the comfort zone of the child.
Problems arise when the child has not been in from a young age and they are not familiar with the surroundings. They then have pain and come in because they need work. The experience starts negatively and it is then hard to make it fun.
Our philosophy is to teach the children to enjoy being at the dentist, so if they need something done, they know us, they have been in the chair before and they feel comfortable. If the child feels comfortable and can trust us we can talk them through anything. For example when we give local anaesthetic we never tell the child it is needle, we tell them to close their eyes, take them on an imaginary journey and it is just a little mossie bite. Happy gas helps us a lot with children. Kids have sworn to their parents they didn’t have a needle it was just a bite!