At what age should a child first visit the dentist?
It’s recommended that a child’s first “regular” dental visit should be before their first birthday.
It is important that your child’s newly-erupted teeth (erupting at 6 to 12 months of age) receive proper dental care right from the beginning. At Sunrise Dental Clinic, the first few visits are very important to empower you as parents to give your child the best oral health.
What happens at our first visit to the dentist?
Sunrise Dental clinic has a different approach to dental care for children.
This is why we start our relationship through a virtual call.
What I should expect from our Virtual call?
The pre-appointment video call is to:
- Introduce you and your child to the dentist they will be seeing in the clinic
- Allow the dentist to become familiar with your family set-up
- Allow the dentist to understand your child’s medical and dental concerns
- Allow the dentist to give you and your child age appropriate oral hygiene advice
- Allow the dentist to give you and your child age appropriate diet advice
- Allow the dentist to familiarise herself with your child’s likes and dislikes
- Enables you to ask any questions you may have before coming to the clinic
- Enables you to speak to the dentist without your child present if you feel this is necessary
- Enables the dentist to run through what you can expect at the appointment in the clinic, which will help you and your child to feel less anxious
- Enables you to communicate any special requirements your child might have (lights, sound, time of day, communication methods, examination positions, non-clinical environment, disability access, etc)
- The dentist will be able to provide you with any relevant information to read before you come to the appointment at the clinic
Most importantly it gets you and your child excited for your first visit to Sunrise!
What I should expect from our first clinical appointment at Sunrise Dental Clinic?
- A warm and friendly welcome to Sunrise Dental Clinic
- Meet your dentist in real life
- Some time for your child to acclimatise to the dental clinic environment
- A full examination (which may include- depending on age and individual needs):
- Development of their dentition: the teeth present, noting displaced, unerupted or missing teeth
- Oral hygiene levels
- Cavities and future susceptibility to cavities
- Enamel/dentine defects
- Presence of gum disease/conditions
- The soft tissue pattern
- The position of the lips at rest
- Tongue health
- The presence of habits (thumb/finger sucking, dummy use, etc)
- Their bite, noting how much the teeth protrude and overlap, any deviation to the centreline, crowding or spacing, cross-bites
- Whether there is any displacement of the jaws when closing
- How the jaws are positioned in relation to each other
- If any X-rays are required they will be taken, shown to you and your child and the findings will be explained.
- Your dentist will let you know if any further records or special tests are needed
After the full examination what will happen?
Your dentist will note the findings and let you know how your child is doing with their tooth brushing, and if there is anything that requires further attention.
Your dentist will then explain:
- Any treatment needs your child has
- What the available treatment options are
- What the pros and cons of each treatment are
- How many appointments your child might need for the treatment plan
- How long each of the appointments might be
- How these appointments can be arranged
- How your dentist can support you and your child to achieve best treatment outcomes
- How you can support your child at home to achieve the best treatment outcomes
- Your dentist will show you an estimate of the treatment plan you agree on and ask you to sign to acknowledge you have seen it (this does not mean you have agreed to have the treatment plan carried out)
At any point you will be able to ask any questions you might have.
If you decide to go ahead the treatment, our team will ask for written consent before commencing any treatments, these consent forms will be sent and completed via your patient portal.
Ways you can support your child during their dental visits
Please note that the information below is not age specific and will vary based on your child’s age/maturity/needs. If you have any specific concerns you may speak privately with the dentist before the appointment without your child present.
If you feel anxious yourself about dental treatment, please let the dentist know in a discrete manner, they will then be able to support you to support your child, without inadvertently passing on any anxiety.
Before the appointment:
If your child asks you about what will happen at the appointment, your response should be that you are not a dentist, but you can ask the dentist and they will let you know what to expect. Reinforce that you trust the dentist to explain what is happening and to carry out the treatment safely.
Try to avoid using language like “don’t be scared”, “it won’t hurt”. These types of phrases will only make them look for these feelings and anticipate them. Instead try to use positive language for example: “your teeth are going to be so strong”, “you are safe with your dentist they will answer your questions and explain what they are doing”, “you’re going to feel amazing when your teeth are healthy and strong”.
If your child says that they feel scared or anxious, DO validate their feelings and explain that it is normal to feel that way, then move on to explain why they are safe and secure with the dentist and that if they ask any questions they will know what to expect and this will help them feel great about their dental treatment.
To familiarise them with the dentist look at their social media/clinic website and show them examples of other children at the dentist. Books, TV shows, their favourite Youtuber at the dentist are also good ways of showing them what to expect.
At the appointment:
When you attend the clinic it is important to understand your role as a parent, how you can support the dentist to aid the delivery of your child’s dental treatment in a safe and effective way.
The best way to describe your role in this situation, is that it is similar to when you go to nursery/school and you give responsibility of your child over to the teacher. The teacher gives instructions to your child and you do not repeat them or become involved unless the requested to do so. In this case the dentist is the teacher and will use their behaviour management skills to manage your child in a manner suitable and safe for them.
Please allow the dentist and your child some space to build their unique relationship and rapport. Sometimes one approach will not work and a different approach is required. If you do have any suggestions of what works for your child, try to discretely communicate them to the dentist. Remember that every child is different and even the same child can be different on different days or even different times of day! If you feel a certain time of day is good for your child, try to book the appointment at that time. Do not feel disheartened if an appointment does not go to plan, all plans are flexible to a certain degree and changes may need to be made to accommodate your child which cannot be anticipated in advance.
Children may become upset during treatment, this is due to the mouth being a sensitive and personal space. Dentistry involves many tastes and sensations which children may dislike. During treatment if your child becomes upset it is advisable for you to remain seated and calm, this will help your child to feel safe and allow the dentist to explain and reassure your child. If your child would benefit from your presence or reassurance, the dentist will advise you and invite you to do this in a position that does not interfere with the safe delivery of treatment. The dentist will always put the safety of the child first during treatment and this may involve moving their hands away to avoid injury. It is important that you understand this and support the dentist to be able to help your child.
If you are unhappy with the outlined treatment approaches your dentist advises, please communicate this before/during any appointment. If you proceed to sign the consent to treatment when you attend your child’s appointment, it will confirm that you are happy with this overall treatment approach.
Paediatric Dentistry With Dr Libi
If you’re looking for a paediatric dentist near me in Edinburgh, our specialist Paediatric Dentist, Dr Libi Almuzian, has over 15 years of experience. Dr Libi is skilled in making the most anxious of children feel at ease in the dental setting. She works with families to achieve tailor-made prevention and treatment plans, while keeping it fun for the children by singing Disney songs and talking to them about their interests. Interacting with children in a way that makes them feel safe and secure is Dr Libi’s number one priority.