Official Public Health England guidance states that children should get a first dental check-up as soon as their teeth start to appear, which tends to be around 6 months. However, the statistics say, that 80% of children in the UK between the age of one and two didn’t visit a dentist.
Usually, the reason for the delay with the appointment is…well, the fear of the dentist. For kids, it is a fear of the unknown and for parents, well, let’s be honest aren’t we are all a bit scared of the dentist?
Importance of the early appointment with a pediatric dentist
Early appointments are essential for making sure your child’s smile is healthy and their teeth develop correctly. Another significant benefit is that going to the dentist at a young age lets kids get comfortable and build a rapport with the practice, making future visits even more comfortable.
There are a number of steps you can take to help alleviate the fear of the first visit to the dental practice. Our awesome team has prepared three tips to help your child get ready for their first dental visit.
First: choose a “happy” appointment time
Try to book their appointment at a time that suits them best, when your child is usually at their happiest and most attentive. For younger children, this tends to be in the mornings, and for older children sometimes early afternoon appointments may work better. Try to avoid later appointments at the first visit as often children will be tired and this may impact on their response especially if they are also a little anxious.
Second: bring along his/her favorite cuddly toy
Encourage younger children to bring a cuddly toy or doll as we can incorporate a dental check-up for them too! Demonstrating what we are going to do on their cuddly toy can help younger children understand what is going to happen at their appointment.
Third: let us gently prepare your child for a treatment
Often it is more useful not to say much about the dental appointment at all, especially if parents have their own anxieties about visiting the dentist. Children will pick up on any concerns shown by parents and it can heighten their own fears un-necessarily. Our teams have the specialist training needed to identify any worries and allay any fears and we use phrases and terminology to explain everything to our patients in a way that keeps things clear and comfortable for them to understand.
Want to book an appointment with us? Get in touch today and we will be happy to see you and your child in one of our London clinics!