Starting dental checkups early will help protect your child’s teeth from potential dental problems or emergencies. When to start? Well, the first visit can be as early as a few month, but it’s best to go as soon as his or her first tooth erupts, and definitely at 12 months of age.
Why See an Oral Health Therapist
While you can bring your child to a general dentist you trust, it is advisable that an oral health therapist sees him or her at this stage. Compared to dentists, oral health therapists specialise in treating very young children, and understand the child’s developing teeth in connection to child behavior, physical growth and development.
Oral health therapists use techniques specifically designed for children. Oftentimes, the standard-sized equipment in most dental clinics overwhelm children, making them anxious about dental visits.
Moreoever, an oral health therapist uses decors and toys to distract children’s attention during an examination. This help builds the level of comfort among children especially when they’re treated for dental problems.
What to Expect During the First Dental Visit
Generally, the first dental visit is short and it may involve little treatment, if not none at all. The oral health therapist may ask you to hold your child as you sit in the dental chair during the examination.
The first dental visit can be likened to a well-baby checkup where the oral health therapist examines your child’s teeth for any sign of decay and look for any problems with your child’s gums and oral tissues. The oral health therapist will also examine your child’s bite to determine potential jaw problems.
If a gum or teeth problem is detected, the oral health therapist will clean your child’s teeth and assess the need for fluoride treatment. You could also expect the oral health therapist to discuss some oral health basics with you, which include oral hygiene best practices, teething, proper nutrition, developmental milestones, and oral habits to avoid like having dummies, thumb sucking, lip sucking, and tongue thrusting.
After the discussion, the oral health therapist will schedule your child’s next checkup at the right time for reviewing the teeth development, treatment of any dental problems and easing dental anxiety.
How to Prepare in Advance
Children can pick up their parent’s anxieties easily and become distressed themselves. Hence, you must prepare yourself first before visiting the dentist and oral health therapist with your child. Resolve any dislike or fear of dental clinic you might have to avoid passing it on to your child. Your positive attitude could turn your child’s first dental visit into an enjoyable experience.
Schedule a morning appointment to ensure that your child is alert coming from complete sleep. If your child is tired or lacks sleep, he or she may become irritable and unresponsive to the oral health therapist. Bring a snack or a comforting toy in case your child needs to be relaxed for your dental appointment.
We believe that there shouldn’t be any stress about your child’s first dental visit. With our young patients’ need and sensitivities in mind, our oral health therapists provide a calm and friendly environment at our dental clinic. Visit us as soon as your child’s first tooth comes in and let our clinic be your child’s dental home.