Feature: My First Trip to the Dentist

A Perfect Smile

A trip to the dentist can be daunting, but the friendly team at Adelaide’s Perfect Smile offer a welcoming and positive environment for all ages. Patient comfort is their number one priority as they strive to provide a service that’s both rewarding and relaxing. The expert team has answered some commonly asked questions when it comes to caring for your child’s teeth.

Q: At what age should parents start taking their children to the dentist?

A: 18 months to two years is the best time to take a child for their first visit.

Q: What is the advantage of early orthodontics?

A: Seven to nine year old can complete a screening exam. This is where any skeletal issues that may interfere with the growth and development of the upper and lower arches can be detected, and Perfect Smile advises parents of future orthodontic appliances that may be best to begin with to perhaps avoid lengthy and expensive orthodontic treatment later on.

Q: What are some good tactics for parents to help kids who are afraid of the dentist?

A: It is important that the parent doesn’t express their own fears of the dentist as this transpires onto the child prior to them attending. This can skew the child’s most often very simple and positive first experiences. We ask parents to tell positive stories about dental visits, use dental apps, books and short children’s movies to show the child what is to be expected at the dental visit.

Q: How do you ensure a positive experience? What make kids feel comfortable when they come to the dentist at Perfect Smile? What sets your practice apart?

A: We only go at the child’s pace! If we sense that they are anxious and not keen on sitting in the dental chair in those first few visits then that is fine.  We are happy to have a conversation with the child and parents whilst the child sits on the parents lap in the room. Lowering our own chair to get down to the child’s height gives them a sense of being included and not talked down to.

Often using the mouth mirror to briefly look in the parent’s mouth whilst the child looks on is a technique called ‘Tell – show – do’, which we use to show the child what is expected and how it’s done.  Further conversations to educate the child about the overhead light, the safety glasses and other tools can occur as the child gains their confidence in the operator and the situation.

Q: What is the best thing that kids can do day-to-day to look after their teeth?

A: Brush their teeth morning and night and have parental assistance to do this until eight years old.  Drink tap water and use appropriate fluoride toothpaste for their age and stage in life. Limit sugary and sticky foods and avoid snacking after brushing at night.

Q: Should parent be giving their kids tap or bottled water?

A: Tap water mostly for localised fluoride exposure to the teeth to assist with resisting sugary and acid attacks.

Q: What are some things parents can do to prevent early childhood caries?

A:Do not allow the child to go to bed with a bottle of milk.
Choose cooled water if this is a requirement for the child to sleep.
Do not put cordial, juice or soft drinks into the bottle.
Move to a cup by six to 12 months of age.
Don’t dip the dummy into sweetened substances.
Wipe over the newly erupted teeth with a face washer each day. This will remove any plaques from the tooth and get the child used to people being in their mouth.
Choose sugar-free medicines
Lift the lip and look at the teeth occasionally for any white/brown spots.
Take your child to the dentist at 18months to two years or earlier if any concerns.

Perfect Smile
50 Hutt Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000
(08) 8210 9414
Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm
perfectsmile.com.au

All images via Meaghan Coles Photography

Perfect Smile