As one of the few children’s dentists in Durban, we like to do things a little differently. From the time a young patient walks in we try and make them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.
The timing of the first dental visit is important therefore as a pediatric dentist in Durban we suggest that children should visit the dentist soon after the first tooth erupts and no later than the age of one, as recommended by the American Dental Association. By establishing a ‘dental home’ children become comfortable with the doctor and dental staff, thus putting them at ease during future dental treatments.
It is important to prepare your child for what will happen at the dental office. Present it as a new place for exploration and making new friends. Do not use phrases like “don’t be afraid” or bribe the child as this makes them suspicious. It is imperative not to transfer your anxieties about the dentist to your child.
During the first visit, we get to know our patients and the family as well as give them the opportunity to discuss any concerns. Children are given time to settle in and become comfortable before anything is done. In many cases, it is better to leave the child alone with the dentist so that a relationship of trust can be built with the child. Anxious children or those who have had previous bad experiences, go through a recuperation process that builds a relationship of trust and care between them and the dentist.
As a kid’s dentist in Durban, we make every attempt to make each visit as enjoyable as possible. Therefore, in order to improve the chances of a positive experience, we are selective in our use of words. We avoid using words that may cause anxious or negative feelings towards dentistry and would appreciate if parents also adopt our terminology. For example at our practice, we refer to a sharp probe as a ‘tooth counter’ or a high-speed drill as ‘Mr Whistle’.
Once our patients are comfortable, records are made of the medical and dental history together with the examination and often a ‘clean and polish’ is performed. At this visit, their teeth will be checked for tooth decay or other dental problems as well as establish a baseline for growth and development. Parents will also be advised about dental hygiene and potential dental problems like thumb sucking and baby bottle tooth decay.
From this visit onwards, we suggest scheduling dental check-ups every 6 months unless a problem arises. At each subsequent appointment, new steps will be added until your child is accustomed to a full dental visit.
We look forward to meeting soon!