Dental care for young children

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Dental care for young children

 

Dental care for young children

 

When should children start coming to the dentist?

We recommend bringing your child in to the dentist from as young as 12months old. Their first few visits may not even involve checking the teeth, but are more intended on helping to familiarise them with the environment and show them we’re not so scary.

We encourage parents to start bringing their children to their own appointments from a young age to help them feel safe and comfortable when it’s their turn to be seen.

Initially we may get your child to sit on your lap in the dental chair and play games or practice brushing. When they are more comfortable we can “count” their teeth and even get them sitting in the chair on their own.

 

Anxiety about dental visits.

It is always important to talk positively about the dentist in front of children, even if it’s not your favourite place to visit. Children often pick up on their parent’s nervousness and in turn they can also become worried about a dental visit.

It is important when talking about the dentist that you use positive and child-friendly terms like “visiting the tooth fairy’s friend” or “going for a ride in the chair”.

Never discuss stories about any bad dental experiences you may have had and avoid words like “needle”, “pull” “hurt” or “drill” as this can cause your child to become worried or fearful of the dentist. It is better to not go into too much detail about any dental procedures as the dental team are well trained to explain everything in terms your child will relate to.

Prepare your child for a dental visit by “playing dentists” at home, counting their teeth or even reading story books about going to the dentist (eg.  Peppa Pig – Dentist Trip).

 

Brushing and flossing.

Children will not have the manual dexterity to be able to effectively brush their own teeth until they can tie their own shoes, usually 8-9 years old.

Up until this time it is best to have a parent/guardian assist with brushing. Allow children to brush themselves first and then assist them, particularly with the hard to reach back teeth.

If your child is reluctant to brush or let someone assist with their brushing try making it a fun routine by incorporating a favourite song, a reward system (put a sticker on a star chart each time your child allows you to brush their teeth with a reward after a week) or a tooth brushing phone app (eg. Brush teeth with the Wiggles).

 

Lauren, our Oral Health Therapist is currently seeing children at Ashmore Dentistry for their dental needs. Children who are eligible to been seen under the Medicare Dental scheme can see Lauren for no out of pocket cost up to $1000.

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