At Compass Dental Care, children’s dentistry is our forte. We are very proud when our young patients love coming to visit us and make every effort to make their experience a positive one. Because we have nitrous oxide (happy gas), children are able to tolerate a much wider range of treatment in the dental chair than would normally be possible, thus minimising the need for heavier sedation or even a general anaesthetic.
We recommend that your child’s first oral health visit to the dentist take place by 12 months of age, or shortly after the eruption of the first baby teeth, and before the age of three. This is the ideal time for us to evaluate your child’s oral and dental health and provide you with advice and answer any questions that you may have regarding your children’s teeth for residents in the Darwin area.
Parents play a vital part in ensuring that their child’s first visit to the dentist is a positive one. In the past, a child may have visited the dentist only after a problem was severe enough to be noticed by parents, however, early oral health visits link in with a positive framework and sets your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.
During the first visit, we will
- Ask about your child’s medical history
- Review dietary and feeding habits
- Assess fluoride intake and exposure
- Check their airway, sleep and breathing
- Evaluate your child’s oral hygiene
- Examine the mouth for signs of early childhood decay or other problems.
Here are some ideas that you can use to help to make your child’s early visits to the dentist a positive one.
- Make the dental appointment at a time when your child is well rested
- Treat the appointment like any other normal experience, like having a haircut. There is no need to promise a reward for going to the dentist and importantly, don’t convey anxiety about the dental visit to your child.
- Children are not born with fear of the dentist. A “learning process” has to take place to create this negative emotion. It is very important to try to conceal your own anxiety about the dentist if you have any. If you are nervous then so will your child, so be upbeat about it and your child will likely be also.
- Take time to play ‘dentist’ with your child at home. Pretend that you’re counting teeth, then switch roles to let your child play ‘dentist’. You may find it easier to ‘model’ the visit using your child’s favourite toy or teddy bear as the patient so that you can be free to guide your child through the roleplay. As the ‘dentist’, have your child pretend to do some of the things that the dentist will do, such as examining teeth and use equipment that the dentist might use, such as a mouth mirror, a bright light and ask questions about healthy food and oral hygiene.
- Exposing them to dentally related things, such as reading stories, will desensitise their anxiety.
- Most young children deal much better if there is a parent or sibling in the room, however, try to be a casual observer as it is often difficult for children to listen to two people at the same time.
- Remember to ask us as many questions as you need to. We’re here to help and nothing gives us more satisfaction than to know that we have contributed to your children’s healthy teeth.