The branch of dentistry specialising in children's dentistry is known as Paediatric Dentistry. At Smilefocus our goal from your child's very first visit is to encourage a positive attitude towards dental care in you and your children, for life.
Your child's first dental visit should be around their 1st birthday unless you notice a problem. Everything is smaller in their mouths and therefore special consideration is needed. It is important to begin good oral hygiene habits early and brushing should begin as soon as you see the first tooth. Be mindful that children have no preconceived ideas about visiting the dentist and have no reason to be fearful. (Parents take note: Keep your childhood trauma stories to yourselves.)
Our children's dentists have more than 35 years between them of treating children, including traumatised children and children with special needs. More about about our Children's Dentists here.
Visiting the dentist should be a relaxed, and even a fun, experience, so at Smilefocus we have special areas for the kids where they can enjoy x-box games, TV, toys and books. The dentists' rooms all have TVs to distract and entertain as well. Remember, regular visits to the dentist are important to encourage and reinforce life-long habits to maintain good dental health.
There are a number of helpful Do's and Don'ts to assist you in introducing your child to the dentist in a positive way.
Children are lucky in that there are fantastic treatment options available to them. For example, fissure sealants are a way of covering and protecting the tooth to prevent decay. It is a pain-free and simple method of protecting the chewing teeth which are most prone to decay.
- Familiarise your child with the dental clinic. Take your toddler along when someone else in the family who enjoys their dental check-up is going too.
- Schedule your child's appointment earlier in the day when they are alert and fresh.
- Be low-key. Treat the visit as routine. Answer any questions the child has honestly but not too specifically.
- Be patient if your child is frightened and non-cooperative. It may be better to reschedule another time.
- Let the dentist decide whether you should stay in the room. Children often respond better without their parents present.
- Don't wait for an emergency to be the first visit.
- Don't make the visit the high point of the day. Your child will suspect something is up.
- Avoid using bribery or threats in an attempt to encourage good behaviour.
- Refrain from threatening the child with a dental visit for any refusal to brush teeth or misbehaviour.
- Avoid saying negative words like pain, pull, jab or drill, or phrases like “It won't hurt much” or “it won't be too bad” as this will only create anxiety.
- Don't try and explain exactly what will happen. The dentist has special words and ways to explain procedures to children.
Meet Bronwyn, Emily and Madeline Maher ... they were introduced in the right way to their dentist and are well on their way to having ‘healthy teeth for life’
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