Galway Paediatric Dentist – First Dental Visit

At what age should my child attend the dentist?

The sooner the better but it is never too late!

We believe that it is best to see your child around the time of their first birthday – or within 6 months of the first tooth growing. At this visit we can advise you how to look after your child’s teeth – regarding appropriate cleaning, diet, habits (e.g. bottles, soothers, digit/thumb sucking) etc. Examination at this young age usually takes place with your child on your lap or knee; when they are older they will be able to sit in the dental chair by themselves.

We will advise you if there are any concerns e.g. tooth decay, damaged teeth, missing teeth etc. and arrange appropriate management and follow up as required.

If the introductory experience is a happy one this should set the pattern for a lifelong positive approach to dental hygiene and health.

“Get it done in year one”

Recommended by the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry

What happens at my child’s first dental visit?

Your child’s first dental visit is very important. A pleasant start in dentistry can positively shape your child’s future dental experiences. After welcoming you all and on completion of a short health questionnaire we will undertake a comprehensive examination of your child’s teeth, mouth and gums (including x-rays if needed by the dentist). Their teeth will be cleaned as appropriate and we apply topical fluoride gel to help prevent cavities. We will then advise you regarding:

  • Oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, which toothpaste to use etc.)
  • Diet
  • Habits e.g. thumb / finger sucking; soothers / “dodies”; bottles
  • Dental disease (if any)
  • Orthodontic concerns e.g. crowding, prominent teeth
  • Preventive measures e.g. fissure sealants; fluoride mouthwash
  • Other concerns e.g. teething, discoloured teeth, breath odour etc., and answer any questions you may have

Following discussion of all findings, you will be given a written treatment plan, including costs. Arrangements can then be made to improve your child’s oral health by making another appointment if required. We find it works best for children if all non-emergency dental treatment is undertaken at subsequent visits in a planned way and at a time of day that is best for your child e.g. mornings. Children are less tired in the morning and their coping skills are better; therefore, the dental experience is more pleasant for them. Your child’s first visit with us will take approx. 30 – 45 minutes.

In Paediatric Dentistry, it is often not the treatment itself which is difficult but rather finding an appropriate approach to the care your child needs, which is the main objective of the consultation. Our aim is to restore your child’s mouth to good oral health in a manner that gives your child a positive dental experience. We will also give you the tools to help maintain good oral health at home until we see you again at your child’s regular 6 monthly dental check-up.

How do I prepare my child for their first dental visit?

Preparing your child for their first dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way towards making your child comfortable with dental care for the rest of their life.

We find it best for you to simply tell your child that “the dentist will count and clean your teeth and perhaps take some pictures”. Each child also receives a small reward at the end of their visit.

Your child’s reaction to their first dental visit may pleasantly surprise you!

How will treatment be provided?

The vast majority of children we see have their dental treatment under local anaesthetic in the dental practice. The number of visits required will vary depending on the amount of treatment needed; you will be advised of this on the day of assessment.

However, a small number of the patients that we see (approx. 5%), will require their dental treatment to be completed under General Anaesthetic in Hospital. Typically these are young children who require a lot of dental work and are not able to tolerate extensive treatment over a number of dental visits. For these patients all necessary dental treatment is provided in one visit as a day-case Hospital procedure. Up to 2022 we have provided comprehensive dental care under GA for over 1,200 children in the Galway Clinic with the support of Consultant Anaesthetists.