Planting the Seed for Your Child to Obtain the Perfect Smile: When should I first take my child to see a dentist? 

Thank goodness most of my friends and the people I hang out with are not in the dental circle. I already look at teeth and talk about teeth from 9 to 5 during my work hours. I sure don’t want to be talking about teeth anymore after hours. Imagine how depressing that would be!

I’m sure you’ve probably heard that amongst all the professions, dentists have one of the highest suicide rates. That’s why I try to stay away from this depressing bunch and keep the negative energy away from me. Besides, who wants to hang out with dentists anyway?

Actually, I’ll let you in on a secret.. even though most people claim that they hate seeing a dentist, the truth is:

People love dentists!

Do you know why? Because everyone’s got a problem with what’s inside their mouth and they are always looking for advice. Not just any advice, but good solid professional advice. Even if they already have their own dentists, people usually wouldn’t mind getting a second, third or even fourth opinion about their oral problems.

You don’t believe me? Often times when I get invited to a party, I’m usually the most popular person in the crowd. I’m popular not because of my bubbly personality or that I have the coolest party tricks up my sleeves (although I like to think that I tick both boxes). The truth is I’m popular simply because


I often get pulled aside by people because they want to ask my opinion about some issues inside their mouths. Some even want me to have a look inside their mouth on the spot (that’s definitely not a good look).

Other times when I’m doing my school run, I often have parents come up to me because they have a “quick” question about some “teething” problems related either to themselves or to their little ones. This used to annoy me a lot in the past. When I’m off work, teeth are probably the last thing I want to talk about. However, why does it seem to be the only thing people want to talk to me about? No matter how much I love dentistry, I just need a break from it sometimes.

One day I’ve finally come to realize that there is no escaping from this situation and it comes with the job. As a highly regarded profession, people really value your opinion very much. Besides “with great power comes great responsibility” (famous quote by Uncle Ben to Peter Parker aka the Spider-Man). So, I’ve come to accept my place in society and now I’m more willing to share my knowledge over the years of practicing dentistry in the hope that people can have better dental health.

Nowadays when people come to me with their dental health problems, I normally don’t mind giving my 2 cents worth if it’s a simple query or if all they want is some general information. However, since each person’s situation is unique, I would really need to have the right tools and the proper equipment in order to do a proper diagnosis and give them the right advice.

Over the years, I’ve been asked hundreds of dental related questions. I have a pretty good idea about what bothers people the most. I’m all for sharing knowledge because we always tell our own kids that sharing is caring, right? Over time, I will try to share my knowledge and experience with some of the topics which I think people are most interested in.

When Is Your Child’s First Dental Visit

I remember when my kids were still going to childcare and playgroups, one of the questions I get asked most often by new mums is, “When should I take my kid to see a dentist for the first dental checkup?” For a lot of babies, they get their first tooth at around six months old. So does this mean that a six months old baby should start having a regular dental visit?

Not so fast, Tiger!

I understand you want the best for your child and you want to take good care of your child’s teeth right from the start, but at the same time, you also need to be realistic here. It’s like a lot of other baby care, you need to trust your mother’s instinct (sorry guys, you probably won’t get this)! If you seriously think that something does not look right with your child’s teeth, you can book a consultation with us. We can do a quick check-up and let you know if we find any problems or areas of concern. Otherwise, I recommend starting routine dental check-up at around the age of 3 years old, when your child has developed a full set of teeth.

What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Our main goal during the first dental visit is to not frighten your child so that he or she can have a life long good experience at the dentist. We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums to make sure there is no tooth decay or other problems. Depending on the situation, we might give your child’s teeth a good clean too (keep in mind this may often not be achievable during the first visit).

I recently had a successful experience in treating a two & a half-year-old boy. We had a good count on the number of his teeth, had a good check around to make sure no bad germs on the teeth. He also allowed me to perform a prophylaxis (a clean) on his teeth with our special electric toothbrush happily! Another happy patient at Chats Dental!

Usually, during your child’s first dental visit, we will also discuss the following topics, depending on your child’s particular circumstances:

  • Medical history
  • Teething
  • Brushing teeth properly
  • Bite correctness
  • Bad habits such as thumb and finger sucking, chewing ice cubes, etc.
  • Prevention of tooth decay
  • Injury prevention to your child’s mouth
  • Good diet advice (hint: sugar is bad)
  • Recommendation for good oral products

Whilst some children are more open to trying new things, others may be more shy with things that they are not familiar with. With these children, what we normally do at their first dental check-up is to let them have a special ride on our special chair. This chair is so smart that it can even turn into a bed (you got to see it to believe it)! This normally amuses a lot of children. They may even watch a cartoon on our overhead screen while lying down comfortably on our chair (we even got a special booster seat just for their little bum bum)!

At this point, if they are happy to proceed, we can start counting on their teeth and even do a clean on their teeth. Otherwise, we normally will stop at that point and try again another time.

Mission Accomplished!

The main goal is to make your child’s dental visit an enjoyable one. By teaching your child good oral habits early on, we hope it can lead to a lifetime of good dental health and a perfect smile. Each child has different dental needs and their needs will change with age.

Last Words

Of course, if there is something not looking right in your child’s mouth or teeth, PLEASE do bring him or her to see us straight away, no matter how young your child is! You never want to delay any problems that may become worse over time! Just remember, in the long run, preventive care is always better than emergency care and can save you time, money and teeth in the end.

At the moment we are giving away free kid’s toothbrush for our young patients who come for a dental check-up. Join our email list and we will send you our offer code so that you can claim your offer when you make a booking with us.

Dr. Mandy Tang, BDS (USyd)

P.S. Our team at Chats Dental is especially good with kids. Most of us are mums ourselves so we are very patient with kids. We know how to talk to them and how to make them feel at ease in the dental chair. Most importantly, we also know how to deal with them when they are not co-operating!

P.P.S. Our trusted dental assistants, Ting and Kyrah, used to be nannies before they become dental assistants. They both have lots of experience dealing with kids, especially the difficult ones. They don’t like kids,

They LOVE them!