After all the permanent teeth are in place, dental checkups look very similar for the rest of your life. But a child’s first dental visit looks quite different to a visit to the dentist as a teenager or adult.
When do you first bring a child to the dentist? What goes on? And what support is there for children’s dentistry in Australia?
Here are a few things to keep in mind before and during your child’s first dental visit.
What to Do Before Taking Your Child to the Dentist
One of the reasons it’s suggested to bring children to a children’s dentist as early as 6 months is to make them comfortable in the dental clinic.
It’s important that parents are also doing what they can to ensure children do not fear visiting the dentist.
Dental anxiety is a widespread issue throughout the community. It results in many complications from easily preventable conditions because people are simply too nervous to see a dentist in time.
- Speak positively about visiting the dentist. Don’t treat it like a chore or an inconvenience.
- Don’t use the dentist as a threat! If children don’t brush their teeth, or if they eat too many sweets, don’t make it sound like a visit to the dentist will be a punishment.
When to Bring your Child to the Dentist
It’s recommended to bring your infant to the dentist with you from around 6 months of age.
This can just be part of your own regular check and clean appointment. The goal with these first visits is not to provide dental care, but to really acclimate your child to the dental environment.
Your dentist and hygienist will take the opportunity to inspect your child’s gums, and provide advice on how best to care for their oral health as they grow.
When your child’s teeth start erupting from the gum, they’ll start having sessions that look more like regular dental checkups. A key difference is that with temporary or baby teeth, there isn’t much opportunity for treatment plans or in-depth procedures.
However, the development of the teeth and jaw will be tracked, and early intervention can be started to prevent the need for braces or surgeries later in life.
Child Dental Benefits Scheme
Parents who are concerned about the financial burden of trying to provide dental care for their children are often unaware of the Child Dental Benefits Scheme.
The scheme is available for children older than 4 years but who have not completed Year 10 schooling. It covers all or part of dental treatments and procedures, and amounts to $1,000 over two calendar years.
There are some restrictions on eligibility, so be sure to click the link above to find out if you and your family is eligible to receive subsidised dental care in Australia.