At Jorgensen Mutzelburg Dental, we are often asked when is the ideal time for a child’s first visit to the dentist here in Everton Park, Brisbane? Many years ago, it used to be thought that the answer was three years of age when all deciduous teeth were erupted, although in more recent times the Australian and New Zealand Society for Paediatric Dentistry (ANZSPD) has recommended the first visit occur by one year or within six months of the first tooth erupting. This first visit is to establish a dental home for the child. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) concurs, suggesting the first birthday is the time for the first dental visit. In all cases, experts suggest the visit be after the teeth have started to erupt.
According to latest research, it might be time to rethink the age for a child’s first visit. To prevent colonization of the tooth decay causing Streptococcus mutans, (S mutans) bacteria the mother should be seen during pregnancy to be sure her mouth is healthy and not harbouring high levels of acid producing S mutans. Bringing the mother’s mouth to health will ensure she passes a good oral flora on to her baby after birth. The bacteria are passed from mother to baby through shared saliva from kissing, tasting food before giving it to the baby and sharing utensils.
The earlier your child visits the dentist the better. Prevention is better than cure, and a visit to Jorgensen Mutzelburg Dental to meet our team will help protect your child from tooth decay, as well as help to ensure there are no other more unusual problems developing.
Your child’s first dental visit
- Brushing and hygiene techniques
- Your child’s bite (how their teeth come together)
- Conditions of their cheeks and gums
- Risks of decay, and important prevention techniques
- Nutritional advice
Preparing for your child’s dental visit
As a parent, you will play a very important role in making visits to the dentist an enjoyable experience. It is essential that when you talk about the dentist you use positive and child-friendly words, like: “going for a ride in the dental chair.”
Never use the dentist as a deterrent. Threats like “if you don’t brush your teeth the dentist will pull them out!” are certain to ensure your child is anxious and fearful at the dentist. Don’t tell bad stories about visits to the dentist, and never use words like needle, pull, or drill as these may also increase your child’s fear.
Playing dentist at home is a great game, and you could count your child’s – or their teddy’s – teeth, and explain how the dentist takes care of our teeth. Our dental team is well-trained to be able to talk with children. We can explain who we are, and what we are going to do at a level your child can understand and relate to. If you are nervous or anxious about the visit, this can rub off on your child – so best stay positive and let us do what we do best.
The Five Important Tips (Don’ts) of Dental Visits
- Don’t tell your child to be brave (they already are)
- Don’t bribe your child
- Don’t tell your child that it won’t hurt (no need to say the word hurt at all)
- Don’t use the dentist as a deterrent or punishment
- Don’t be anxious yourself.