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Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist: What to Expect

If your baby's cute gummy smile is gone and the first teeth have arrived, you might be wondering when it's time to book your child's first appointment with the family dentist. The answer is as soon as possible. The Australian Dental Association recommends that the initial checkup happens when a tooth becomes visible or when the child turns one, whichever comes first. Here's what you can expect during your first visit.

What will happen during the visit?

The dentist will check all of your child's teeth for spotting or decay, as well as assess potential problems with gums or jaws. In most cases the examination won't take long at all and your child won't be required to sit still for a long time. 

Your dentist will then discuss with you how to care for your child's teeth. You'll learn techniques for effective brushing, as well as some ways to deal with reluctant kids, who try to avoid brushing at all cost. You'll have all your questions answered about dental hygiene, decay prevention, your child's sucking habits, teething and suitable nutrition. Make a note of everything you'd like to ask in advance, so that you don't forget.  

Will it be stressful for your child?

Family dentists have been trained to work with babies and children. They know exactly how to get children's attention and how to distract them when needed. There may be a few toys that will keep your child occupied and you may even come out with a little gift like a sticker or a new, special tooth-brush.

These early visits are important not only as a way to monitor your child's dental health, but also for developing trust and a positive relationship with the dentist. When there's a real problem, dental treatment will be less stressful for your child if it's done by someone they know well and they've shared lots of laughs with.

How can you prepare?

Let your child know in advance what's happening, while not making a big deal out of it. Stay positive when you're talking about the family dentist and don't use the dental visit as a threat when your child is not keen on brushing. If you have any fears or distressing memories of your own, be careful not to pass them on. Most adults aren't looking forward to their dental appointments, but for your child a visit to the family dentist may very well become an exciting adventure. 

For more information, contact a family dentist like DC Dental