YOUR CHILD'S FIRST VISIT TO THE DENTIST
Why should I take my child to a dentist? The baby teeth are going to fall out anyway.
Your child's first set of teeth, the primary teeth, are extremely important. Strong, healthy primary teeth help your child chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and look good. Also, your child's general health can be affected if diseased and broken primary teeth are not treated early. Primary teeth also hold the spaces for permanent teeth to erupt into good positions. It is important that the first dental visit is pleasant, not anxiety-producing. Going to see the dentist only when child has problems does not allow this.
At What Age Should My Child First See a Dentist?
Ideally, it is best to take your child to the dentist when he /she is between 6 to 12 months of age. This allows the dentist to prevent and anticipate problems rather than treat them. In addition, the dentist will assess your child's caries risk, evaluate adverse habits and customize a program specific for each child. The Infant Oral Health Clinic
at NDCS provides these services within its preventive programme for mothers and their infants.
How Should I Prepare My Child for His First Visit?
If you bring your child at age 1, your child will gradually learn that a dental visit is not a fear provoking experience. At an early age, the dentist can acclimatize your child to procedures such as examination using a mouth mirror, and tooth cleaning. Older children can accompany you when you see your dentist, so that you can be a model for appropriate behaviours. You can also read to your child. There are many children's books on visiting the dentist.
How Often Should My Child See the Dentist?
There is no set rule. It is generally recommended that children visit the dentist every six months. Because children's dental needs differ, your dentist is best able to suggest a schedule of visits for your child.
Taking your child to the dentist regularly can prevent serious disease. Regular dental visits can save time, money and your child's teeth.
Pointers to Parents: Dos and Don'ts
- Bribe your child into going to the dentist or use a dental visit as a punishment
- Communicate your own fears to your child
- Let anyone tell your child scary stories about dental visits
- Be a role model to your child in terms of dental behaviour, diet and oral hygiene
- Accompany your child at least for the first visit instead of relegating this to relatives and caregivers
- In making your first appointment, tell the dental staff about your child including any special needs or medical problems.
At our Paediatric Clinics, our dental team does not just care for your child's teeth but also care that they start right in their relationship with dentistry.
Caring For Your Infant's Teeth
Early Childhood Caries
Preventing Decay with Dental Sealants
Paediatric Dentistry Unit, NDCS
Growing Great Smiles that Last for Life