At what age should I book my child’s first appointment?
According to the Clinical Recommendations from the Ministry of Health “we recommend the first dental appointment be carried out between 18 and 24 months, regardless of any potential dental problems.”
A child’s first dental appointment is important!
Their first appointment is the first time your child will meet their dentist; the aim of this appointment is for them to get to know each other. During this first appointment, the dentist will evaluate the child’s oral health, examining their teeth and the soft tissue, checking the dentition (number of teeth present in the child’s mouth) is correct regarding the patient’s age. The dentist will also evaluate the patient’s bite (how the teeth fit together), jaw movement, any detrimental habits (such as thumb-sucking or use of a pacifier) which may affect the development of the child’s mouth and jaw. Where necessary, the dentist will then perform an X-ray, explaining to the patient and their parents the fundamental principles of prevention and tooth care. The first appointment is an incredibly important moment for the child, as it establishes their sense of confidence with dentists and dental staff. It’s during this first appointment that patients and dentists can lay the foundations for a good relationship: this is fundamental to the success of the child’s treatment in future! Our Dr Kids project KID-Check by Dr Kids is not just an appointment, but an in-depth check-up for younger patients carried out by our pediatric dentist. Our goal is to guarantee a friendly, comfortable environment whilst offering an exceptional service. We want to put young patients at ease, allowing them to have fun as we take care of their oral health. We’re committed to offering non-invasive children’s dentistry of the highest possible quality, protecting patients’ teeth and preventing future issues. We are wholeheartedly convinced that a healthy mouth means a healthy life; we ensure good oral hygiene from a young age, following the correct preventative measures.
We provide younger patients and their families with a multidisciplinary dental service, thanks to our highly qualified staff. This renders us experts in children’s dentistry.
Before beginning the appointment, our dentists will start to develop a relationship with the patient, instigating play and “introducing” the various tools they’ll be using, such as the mirror and the air/water spray “gun”.
When the child is comfortable, the dentist will officially start the appointment, which the parents can watch, if they wish, on the TV screen. The dentist will accurately evaluate the soft tissue, teeth, gums, bite, and more to give as comprehensive an overview as possible. Thanks to the enlarged microscope photo, no issue goes undetected. The patient will be entertained and comforted by our Doctor Kids services, such as music and the chance to watch their favorite cartoon on a TV screen. Following the appointment, the dentist will provide a summary of the child’s oral health and any potential problems that may arise in future, explaining everything to them in great detail, using simple language. They will also explain the first treatment plan and give advice and information to help the young patient take care of their oral health. Your dentist will be available for any questions or concerns. If you’re happy, you can even decide to start treatment right away! Before leaving, your child will also get a small treat as a reward for being so brave!
A child-sized environment
Have you ever had the feeling, when walking into a nursery school, that everything feels “small”? In the same way, a child walking into a dental practice may feel that everything is “too big”. A child-sized environment, where children feel comfortable, is incredibly important. As well as considering material aspects such as toys, books and drawings, the dentist themselves must pay particular attention to the child’s emotional state. Making the child feel heard is an important step in understanding their world. Listening to them and involving them in the process using simple language and methods that have been adapted to suit their age, will allow the dentist to establish a relationship with the patient, helping them get over their fear!
Children at the dentist: advice for parents.
Your collaboration is essential 😊 Dear parent, Here are some useful tips for your child’s first visit to the dentist, ensuring it’s a positive experience that they’ll think back on with a smile!
What to do…
- • Choose a Pediatric Dentist for your child.
- • Book an appointment on a day when the child is in a good mood, and has not recently had any other medical appointments (especially if that experience was a negative one).
- • Be calm and positive. Explain to your child that the dentist is a friendly face, who takes care of their teeth and teaches them important ways to take care of their oral health.
- • Consider bringing your child to one of your dental appointments, to allow them to familiarize themself with the practice. Be a positive role model: children learn by imitation!
- • Practice “playing dentist” at home; that way, their first appointment will be an experience they’re already familiar with!
- • On the day of their appointment, dress your child in their favorite clothes and suggest they bring their favorite toy: the child will feel happier and more confident!
- • Stay with your child throughout their appointment and encourage them to collaborate with their dentist. Be calm: children are very perceptive when it comes to our emotions!
- • Show them that you’re happy and make them excited for their appointment: “Today we’re going to the dentist to show him all your teeth! Have you decided which toy to bring? There are so many fun things to see at the dentist!”
What not to do:
- • Don’t convey any negative emotions to your child if you yourself have a fear of the dentist.
- • Don’t tell them how they should or shouldn’t behave (e.g. “don’t cry”, “listen”, “be good”) because this may invoke the opposite reaction.
- • Don’t use negative or threatening language (e.g. pain, needle, drill) which might create a sense of fear or anxiety.
- • Don’t use the idea of the dentist as a threat, such as “if you don’t behave, I’ll take you to the dentist” or “if you don’t brush your teeth properly the dentist will shout at you”. This will only fuel their worries.
- • Don’t wait for your child to experience toothache to take them to the dentist for the first time.
- • Help your child get used to the dentist immediately by booking regular check-up appointments. This will ensure their experience is positive and not traumatizing!