Dr Nita Pai BDS (Adel), MDS (Adel)
Dr Caroline Chung BDS, MDS
When should I first take my child to the dentist?
The Australasian Academy of Paediatric dentistry recommends that children have their first dental check up at around 12 months of age. No child is “too young” to visit the dentist. Don’t wait until your child has a problem before you make a dental appointment.
This visit gives the paediatric dentist an opportunity to assess your child’s dental needs and discuss all aspects of preventive dentistry including importance of good oral hygiene, diet and correct brushing/ flossing techniques.
How long does the first visit last?
The first visit usually lasts approximately 20-30 minutes. All members of the team individually greet your child in a friendly caring manner and all the steps of this visit are explained to your child using age appropriate non-threatening language. The goal of this visit is to provide a comfortable introduction to dentistry and lay the foundation for years of happy dental experiences.
What do I tell the child about the dental visit?
Keep the explanation simple and basic. Explain to your child they will have a ride in the dental chair and have their teeth counted. Talk about the visit in a positive, matter of fact way. Helpful children’s books and websites can be used to explain the dental visit / procedures to the child. Avoid phrases such as “nothing is going to hurt” as these phrases are negative and will give your child something to worry about!
What if my child cries?
It is normal for children to be afraid of anything new. Do not be upset if your child is anxious on their first or even their second visit. This is a normal reaction for most children. Try to be relaxed and positive. Treat this visit as a routine part of life. Bear in mind that everyone involved wants the child to have a positive experience.
What is the role of the parent at the time of the visit?
Parents can accompany their children during the first visit. It is usually helpful if parents assume the role of a silent observer. This allows the dental team to capture the child’s complete attention.
It is important for Dr Pai to treat the child as an individual and establish a rapport. Good dentistry demands the undivided attention of the dentist, assistant and the patient.
Following initial assessment, Dr Pai will be able to talk to you and discuss your child’s dental health.