Once your baby’s first tooth erupts, another important milestone in the offing is your child’s first dental visit. But, when should you take your baby to the dentist for their first visit? The British Society of Paediatric Dentists recommends parents bring their child to the dentist when their first tooth comes in or by age one.
We know this sounds young, and the thought of having a baby in tow at the dentist can seem daunting, but babies can get cavities in those teeny-tiny teeth. Early visits to Foxbury Dental are essential to help children build a rapport with our dentists, get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental clinic, and make future appointments easier.
Our pledge to parents for their child’s first dental visit
As gentle, empathetic dentists, we promise we’re pros at putting babies and toddlers (and even teens) at ease while ensuring their first check-up is quick and painless for you both. But you’ve probably still got some questions about what to expect. Can my baby sit on my lap? Will they have their teeth cleaned at their first appointment?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach at Foxbury. Dr Carmen Jimenez is a parent herself, and she’ll let your infant or toddler set the pace. But as a general rule of thumb, here’s what to expect during your child’s first dental visit.
1. A warm, friendly welcome
As soon as you walk in the door, you and your infant will be greeted at reception by our warm and friendly team. To save time, you can fill in the new patient forms online before coming into our clinic. For now, we’re limiting numbers to keep everyone safe. But hopefully, in the future, if you arrive early, you can chill out in our kid-friendly waiting area while your little one plays with the toys or explores a colourful book.
2. Back to the treatment room
Our clinic is bright, airy and designed to help everyone feel at ease. A team member will lead you and your child to a spacious treatment room adorned with colourful posters. Depending on your child’s age, but certainly, for a baby’s first visit, our paediatric dentist will suggest that your baby sits on your lap during the examination. In contrast, a toddler aged three, for instance, will be given a ride in the dentist’s chair.
3. The examination
Carmen, our principal dentist, will introduce herself and conduct a quick but thorough oral examination. She always explains what she’s going to do in child-friendly terms, showing them a few dental tools to be sure they’re on board before commencing. She will count your baby’s teeth and gently examine their gums, lips and tongue and the inside of their cheeks to ensure everything is developing as it should.
4. Teeth cleaning
Do we perform teeth cleaning for children? To be honest, it depends. For instance, as we mentioned earlier, we’re very much guided by your child and may not perform cleaning during a baby’s first dental visit. We may do a gentle clean for kids aged 2,3, and 4 if it’s their first dental visit. Carmen makes sure it’s fun and uses child-friendly techniques so they feel relaxed and calm. For a child’s dental cleaning, she will gently floss their teeth, remove hard plaque, and finish with a polish.
5. A chat with the dentist
Once the examination and cleaning are over, we’ll conclude your child’s first dental visit by discussing things you can expect as the remaining teeth erupt, how to brush and floss your little one’s teeth, and tips for oral health in general. Carmen will also be happy to answer any questions about teething, thumb-sucking, and dietary requirements to maintain good oral health.
You may even want to jot down a few questions about your child’s dental care, lest you forget to ask them.
Tips to Make Your Child’s First Dental Visit Easier
Before assuming your child will throw a tantrum before climbing into the dentist’s chair or the visit will involve some form of bribery, remember that, at the moment, your child doesn’t harbour any ill feelings toward dentists. A ride in the dental chair could be as exciting for them as going up and down on the see-saw at the local park. If you have any negative feelings, try to keep them hidden, and let your child enjoy their first dental visit with as much enthusiasm as staying over at grandmas.
To help ease any potential anxiety, here are a few things to try before and during the appointment.
- Role Play – Read some picture books together about visiting the dentist and encourage your child to take on the role of dentist with you as the patient – opening the mouth wide, looking inside and cleaning the teeth.
- Use positive language – Explain that a dentist is a kind person who helps look after teeth and make them stronger but avoid any technical details that may be confusing.
- Arrive prepared – Let your child bring their favourite toy to the dentist to help distract them while you wait, but don’t indulge them with messy snacks that will coat their teeth.
- Plan a treat – Help your child stay positive with a treat after the dentist, such as a trip to the kid’s playground.
- Remain relaxed – Children are good at picking up on their parents’ moods, so remain cheerful and calm, setting the tone for your little one.
- Praise them – Try and congratulate your child whenever you can, even if it’s just for opening their mouth wide. If your child finds cooperating difficult, try to remain supportive rather than critical – after all, our dentist has probably seen it all before!
So, you’ve made it through the first dental check-up. How long before the next visit?
It depends on how your child’s teeth look. Most dentists recommend that children see the dentist every six months, provided no significant problems exist. At Foxbury Dental, we make children’s dentistry fun and educational, so they can’t wait to come back for more. Whether you’re new to the area, struggling to find a caring paediatric dentist, or want to switch dentists, we’d love to welcome you to Foxbury Dental. Call today on 01858 455 100 and experience the best of children’s and adults’ dentistry as it should be.