Your child’s first dentist visit

Milky sitting and hugging a tooth.

It’s a common myth that children are afraid of the dentist. In fact, many kids are completely fine going for a check-up, and the worries can actually come from parents instead. This makes things a little easier when it comes to keeping their teeth healthy. The key is to help  them see these visits as a normal part of life.

When to book their first visit

Taking your baby to the dentist is a big milestone. And can happen as soon as that first tooth appears, usually around six months old. It’s unlikely they will need any treatment at this stage. The dentist will simply check to see that your baby’s teeth are growing the way they should.

It’s good to remember that if you’re comfortable, your child probably will be as well. Don’t be afraid to ask the dentist questions if it helps you feel reassured. From how their teeth are developing to handy baby brushing techniques. Also, consider if the dental surgery you use as an adult is the right choice for your little one. It can be worth doing a bit of research before booking the first appointment. 

What to do if they’re feeling nervous

Taking your child to the dentist regularly is the easiest way to help them feel comfortable. If they only see the dentist when there’s a problem, it’s only natural to associate them with bad news. But with frequent 6-month check-ups, it’s easy to think of it as a normal thing to do.

Lilly and Milky having fun during teeth brushing time.

If you feel they are still anxious after a few visits, here’s some other things you could try:

  • If you’re nervous around the dentist, try not to show your anxiety. Children can pick up on these things and naturally copy your behaviour.
  • Children often get more tired as the day goes on. Try booking their appointment for the morning so they’re in the best frame of mind for their check-up.
  • Finding the right dentist for your child can also be very important. If you’re not sure, or your child is often uncomfortable going there, it’s completely fine to change to a different one.
  • Another thing that can help is to start taking them with you for your own check-ups. Letting them see you happily with the dentist could help them feel at ease when they’re sitting in the chair.
  • To help your child feel proud of their visit, try printing a certificate before you go to the dentist. Then once the appointment is over, get the dentist to present it to their good little patient.
  • If it’s clear they have a genuine fear, try talking to them about it. Once you understand why they’re afraid of the dentist, it can be easier to help them past it.
  • If you feel there’s a real problem, try visiting a paediatric dentist. These specialists have had extra training working with children, and could be the right person to help get them over their fears.

Going to the dentist is a normal part of life. And very important to keep our teeth strong and healthy. Help your little one see dentists as the protectors of teeth, and keep visiting regularly so they always know what to expect. 

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