Your Child’s First Trip To The Dentist

Many adults experience a degree of fear when it comes to dental visits.  This fear often originates from early childhood horror dental experiences and can be very hard to dispel.  So how can you ensure that your child has a fear-free and enjoyable experience when they have their first trip to the dentist?  Read on for some helpful advice.


Most dentists recommend that your child has their first dental check-up before the first birthday, followed by visits every six months thereafter.

It's a good idea to choose a child-friendly practice for the child's first few visits.  The staff will be used to dealing with children and will be able to put your youngster at ease.  Before you book an appointment, check that you will be permitted to remain in the room while your child is examined, and seek assurance that the dentist will stop treatment immediately if your child becomes upset.

Make a list for the dentist of any medical conditions your child has, including any drugs they're taking, and note down if the child sucks their thumb or uses a dummy.  This is important information, as a child with a sucking habit may be at risk of developing problems with its jaw or teeth if the habit is allowed to go unchecked for a long time.

What to expect at the dental clinic

The initial visit should just be for a check-up.  The dentist should introduce themselves to the child before taking the time to explain what the procedure will involve and showing the child the tools that will be used.  The spitting cup can sometimes be a little scary, as it makes a strange sucking noise.  The dentist will show the child how the cup works and may demonstrate, before asking the child to have a go.

The dentist will then don a mask and gloves and count your child's teeth.  They might demonstrate on a model first, or even on you, before putting their fingers in the child's mouth. 

The next step is cleaning and polishing the child's teeth.  Your child will be given goggles to protect its eyes from spray and toothpaste splats.  The dentist will run the electric rotary brush for a minute or so to allow the child to become accustomed to the noise before he begins.  There should also be an external demonstration of how the sucking straw works to remove saliva and toothpaste, as this can be a potentially frightening experience for a child.

When the check-up is complete, many paediatric dentists will give your child an overview of how to brush their teeth.  They will likely try to make this a fun learning experience, possibly by using finger puppets, models and an oversized toothbrush.

When the visit is over, many kids' dentists will give your child a 'goodie bag' as a reward for sitting quietly through the treatment.  This is a great way of showing your child that a visit to the dental clinic is a fun and exciting thing to do.

You can ensure that your child's first experience of going to the dental clinic is a positive one by preparing them thoroughly and making sure that you choose a dentist who is kid-friendly and experienced in dealing with young patients.

Contact a practice like Adelaide Smile Centre if you have specific questions about paediatric dental care.