The Australian Dental Association recommends that your baby visits the dentist at 12 months old or 6 months after the appearance of their first tooth.
This visit is important so we can check the teeth and mouth. In addition, we will discuss brushing and oral hygiene, diet, and oral habits (dummy use, thumb or finger sucking, etc.). We also encourage parents to ask us about any other concerns you may have for your baby.
At this age, your baby may feel more comfortable using a “knee to knee” position or on your lap in the dental chair. This allows your little one to still be close to you whilst still allowing the dentist close enough to see. It is normal for your child to fuss with all this attention, much like when they visit the doctor or the hairdresser.
As your child gets older, the visits will become more comprehensive. They will begin including a dental clean and us teaching your child how to care for their teeth. These visits allow us to gather important dental and medical information and formulate a care plan unique to your child. It is also an important time for us to develop a rapport and understanding with your child and you.
Tips to prepare your child for their first visit
- Be positive in your talk about going to the dentist (“going to see the tooth fairy’s friend”).
- Play “dentist” at home: count your child’s teeth and explain what they will experience.
- Read books and watch episodes of their favourite characters going to the dentist (“Peppa Pig goes to the dentist”, Dora the Explorer’s “Show me your Smile”).
- Brushing your child’s teeth morning and night allows your child to become more familiar with someone being close to their face and examining their mouth.
- Do not use the dentist as a deterrent (“If you don’t brush your teeth, the dentist will have to drill and fill them”). Refrain from telling stories of bad dental experiences.