What happens at a child’s first dentist checkup?

Your child’s first tooth is an exciting milestone in their (and your) life. And when one pearly white pops up, others are very soon to follow which is why it’s important to get to know children’s dentistry essentials.

Putting your child’s dental health firmly in the spotlight from that very first tooth isn’t just a significant part of their developmental health, it can set them up for strong and healthy teeth to help them avoid dental procedures in the future.

Yes, healthy teeth do indeed start from childhood, so booking your little one in for that very first dental check is of utmost importance. But when should you start their dental care? And, when so many of us have an underlying fear of the dentist, how do we make sure our children have positive dental experiences?


When should your child have their first dental appointment?

You might be wondering when to take your child to the dentist for the very first time. We say dental health starts from the first tooth, which is why we recommend booking in their initial dental check up at the 12 months milestone or when their first tooth comes through (at the latest 2 years of age). However, if you have any concerns about your child’s dental health don’t hesitate to book in sooner.



Getting your child ready for their first visit

The lead up to your child’s first appointment is just as important as the appointment itself, as this is when you should begin to encourage positive thoughts around the dentist. Even as young as 1 or 2 years of age, mentally preparing your child for their appointment can positively affect how they see the dentist moving forward.

Here’s how you can help ease your child into their very first dental visit:

  • Talk positively about the appointment. Use language like ‘you get to’ rather than ‘you have to’

  • Positively explain what may happen during the appointment

  • Introduce your child to dentistry with fun games, songs or role-play activities

  • Bring their favourite toy along for moral support

  • Play teeth brushing games at home as a fun way to introduce them to healthy habits.


Arriving at the dentist

When you arrive at your child’s first dental appointment, be sure to go in with a positive and cheery attitude. This will settle any nerves your little one could pick up on, on the day. You’ll find most dental clinics are designed to feel welcoming and calming, and some even have play areas to entertain your child before their appointment.

At the beginning of your appointment, your dentist will take some time to sit down and guide you through the first checkup process. This also gives them time to build rapport with your child and ease into the checkup ahead.



What to expect during your child’s first checkup 

This initial appointment is your dentist’s first opportunity to assess the health of your child’s teeth.

Here they’ll check general growth and development, then perform a thorough exam of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissue. Good news for the little wrigglers out there, this doesn’t take very long. In fact it can be as quick as 5 – 15 minutes!

Next, your child may receive a very gentle (but comprehensive) teeth and mouth clean. Your dentist will remove any plaque, tartar and stains, then polish their teeth with care. This is completely pain free and can be done within the same appointment as the examination. If there are signs of decay or developmental issues your dentist may also recommend an x-ray be taken.

If your child is old enough your dentist will also show them how to properly floss and brush. Topping off the appointment with a sticker or fun dental themed takeaway as a special reward for their visit.


How long will your child’s first appointment take? 

The very first dental checkup tends to take roughly 30 minutes. Not very long at all!

This includes:

  • Arrival and greeting

  • Dental exam

  • Teeth and mouth clean.

Next steps

After the first checkup we recommend your child visits the dentist every 6 to 12 months, depending on their individual dental circumstances. These regular checkups are the answer to your child’s dental health. By keeping to a regular schedule, you can catch any issues that may arise in the future and save a lot of money in the process.

So when you see that first tooth pop up, get to it! Get your child feeling comfortable and confident about their dental visits and set them up for a future of shiny white teeth. Book your child’s first dental appointment at Claremont Dental online today or call us on 9383 1200 and we can answer any questions you may have.

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