Your child’s first visit to the dentist
Date: 1 February 2017 Category: Dental health
Do your children visit the dentist? Do they know how to brush their teeth properly? Clare Sealey, Practice Manager and Dental Nurse at CFD Brighton, explains why dental education from an early age is important and what parents can do to help.
Encourage good oral hygiene
Encourage good oral hygiene habits from the get-go. We recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes each session, once first thing in the morning and once last thing before bedtime. Remember, it is important not to eat or drink anything after that last brush before bedtime! Children will need help and support in their daily routine and it’s also important to adopt effective tooth brushing techniques. Your dentist will be happy to give you more specific guidance and techniques during your appointment.
Keep an eye out for hidden sugar!
A careful diet with limited sugar consumption will help to keep teeth in great health. Don’t forget to check foods and drinks for hidden sugar content as it can be present in all kinds of food and drinks!
When should I first take my child to visit the dentist?
We recommend that we see children as soon as they start to get their very first teeth. A positive experience, learning correct oral hygiene habits/techniques and building a trusted relationship is ideal at this early age.
How can I help my child not to be scared?
For many, the thought of a trip to the dentist can be daunting and it is common for people to feel apprehensive about visiting the dentist. New patients often say to us that they have put off going for so long as they are afraid it might be painful or because they have had a bad experience many years ago. After their appointment, those same patients tell us that their actual experience of the visit was much nicer than their had envisaged!
It can help immensely, if children have a positive outlook for their first trip to the dentist. A child’s preconception of a dental appointment will be heavily influenced by others before they have ever set foot in the practice. It can help to avoid using words like ‘scary’ or ‘painful’ even in a sentence like: “ Don’t worry. The dentist is lovely. It is not going to be ‘scary’ or ‘painful’.” or “ Don’t worry, it isn’t going to hurt.” It is not a conclusion that is reached naturally without some kind of preconception. If you have never even heard of a dentist, why would you assume that it would be scary or painful?
How can I improve my child’s first visit?
With young children it can help to encourage their curiosity around a first visit and explore what might happen in a positive light. “Are you excited about your first visit to see the dentist?” “Do you know what a dentist is and why it is important that we visit?” It is extremely important that children have a positive experience in our practice and for very young children it can be even more important than the examination itself.
What can my child expect on the first visit?
We firmly believe that a first trip to the dentist can be fun as well as educational. Julian (pictured) is 4 years old and I think that he would agree!
At Centre for Dentistry, we encourage children of all ages to visit the dentist regularly. To help make this easier, we offer children (under 11) of CFD registered patients free regular check-ups and fluoride treatments.