Children can have their first dentist appointment from the age of two years. But, that does not mean you should assume that babies and toddlers do not need any sort of dental care. You can start preparing your child for their first visit from a very early age, while also doing your part to keep your little one’s teeth in good health from birth.
Your babies teeth can be cleaned from the age of six months, once the first teeth appear. Use a cotton bud or cotton wool to gently wipe the teeth. You can also use a specially designed infant toothbrush that has extra soft bristles. Make the routine fun – let your child see mom and dad brushing their teeth and help them with brushing until they are old enough to do it themselves.
Do not ever let your child fall asleep with sweetened drinks or fruit juice in a bottle. This can cause nursing caries. Always ask your doctor about the effect that medications may have on your child’s teeth. Some chemicals may increase the risk of caries. Fluoride supplements that are designed for small children may be advised by your dentists.
Planning Your Child's First Dentist Appointment
Dental visits do not have to be traumatic, if you make the experience relaxing and fun. You can start preparing your child from a very early age, well before the child’s first dental appointment. Some tips to keep in mind include the following:
- Play pretend dentist with your child so that they have an idea of what to expect. Use toys and dolls or dress-up to recreate a simple appointment. Your child will feel a lot more comfortable when the time comes for their appointment if they have a basic idea of what a dentist does and why they need to have their teeth checked regularly.
- Take your child with you to your appointment. This will take away some of the initial anxiety and uncertainty by showing the child that his or her parents go on a regular basis. The dentist will make the child feel welcome while watching your appointment. Obviously, this applies to routine check-ups. It may not be wise to have your child watch a root canal treatment or an intense surgical procedure.
- Don’t overload your child with information at an early age. Use age-appropriate terms and keep the information simple. It’s also a good idea to avoid warning or bribing your child to try and prepare them for potential injections. This can end up causing more panic, as the child will fear the worst.
- Make sure that you are calm – even if you dislike dentists. Many adults feel anxious when going to the dentist. Your child will quickly pick up on your tension, so be extra careful to stay calm during your child’s trip to the dentist. Treating the appointment as a routine matter and nothing to feel concerned about will help your child feel comfortable.
As an experienced child-friendly dentist in Durban, Gateway Dental has patients of all ages. We work hard to ensure that both you and your child have a pleasant, calm experience at all times. From advanced strategies aimed at creating a calm experience to a team of highly trained dental experts, we focus on pediatric dentistry.