The Canadian Dental Association recommends the assessment of infants, by a dentist, within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age.  In Quebec, annual dental examinations are covered by the public health insurance plan until the age of 9.  Your little one already blew out his first candle and he still hasn’t seen a dentist? Don’t panic! It’s never too late to do the right thing. Book an appointment with your dentist now!  


Bringing your children to the dentist early is meant to get them used to the place, the team, the different tools, the sounds and thus, make their experience enjoyable. The visit then becomes a routine act, easy and fun! The idea is also to see the child BEFORE he has a problem in his mouth. Your dental team will be able to suggest different preventive strategies adapted to your child to avoid developing dental cavities : advice on hygiene and diet, fluoride and sealant application, etc. In addition to preventing cavities, your dentist will ensure that your child’s mouth is developing properly. He evaluates the growth of the jaws and the eruption of teeth, detects certain bad oral habits, such as late thumb sucking, and will refer you to various specialists if necessary (pedodontist, orthodontist, language therapist, etc.).


First of all, if you took your baby to the dentist as soon as his first tooth erupted, you know the habit has set in by itself and chances are your child will be a super champion at every visit. Congratulations! This section is not for you, but it could still be fun to read!
Tip #1: Don’t talk about it too much! When I see this rather anxious mother with her child arriving at the office for the first time and I hear the typical sentence : “Don’t worry, my darling, it’s not going to hurt”, I roll my eyes for sure… It won’t be easy! Despite the fact that this mother wants to do the right thing and wants to be reassuring, it has the opposite effect on the child. Tell me, when you take your little one to daycare or grocery store, do you say to him : “Don’t worry, my darling, it won’t hurt”? No! Why? Because you have no reason to think it’s going to hurt. Most adults who had bad experiences at a dentist’s when they were younger have very bad memories of them. As a result, these adults carry this fear of being hurt with them for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, these adults tend to instill this fear (unintentionally) in their children. Your children are very intelligent and will quickly interpret it. You can simply say that the dentist is the doctor of teeth : “He will look in your mouth and count your teeth”.  Above all, avoid all words with negative connotations or that refer to pain.   Tip #2: Mix useful and pleasure One of my patients is a mother of two children; a 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl. The latter’s visit went so well.  Mom had taken the time to watch the Passe-Partout episode that talks about dental check-ups and tooth brushing. I’m speaking for myself, but I’m sure that many dentists agree with me: We love these parents a lot!  Here are some recommendations for short programs and readings that can help you prepare your little ones: Tip #3: Accompanying your older brother or sister  If your child has older siblings, he or she can accompany them on their visit to get a sense of what is happening. The mother I mentioned earlier also took her little one on her brother’s last visit to observe. The girl knew everything that was going to happen and was very cooperative during her appointment.  We can also play dentist at home. It is possible to purchase wooden dentist tool kits available in some toy stores or simply a small plastic mouth mirror available in pharmacies.


For babies aged 6 months to 1 year, the mouth examination is done knee-to-knee. The dentist and parent sit facing each other and baby has his head on the dentist’s thighs and his feet towards the parent. The examination lasts only a few minutes. It consists mainly of looking at the teeth in the mouth, the mucous membranes and the attachment of the labial and lingual frenums. The rest of the visit is mainly advice and recommendations to the parent.

For children over 1 year old, depending on their cooperation, it may be possible to have them sit alone, or with the parent, on the chair. Gradually, as the visits progress, the chair will be tilted and new instruments will be shown. 

I often advise the parent to accompany their child to the room for the first visit. However, I invite the parent to wait in the waiting room as soon as the child is cooperative enough to sit on the chair alone. The reason is very simple. In my experience, the child cooperates much better without the parent in the room. Dentists have different approaches to this. Talk to your dentist to find out how he or she handles it.

Parents are key players in the oral health of their children. I therefore invite you to take your children to a dentist as a preventive measure. You will not only contribute to making a positive impact on their health, but you will also offer them the opportunity to grow up avoiding the fear of the dentist.


 Dr. Sabrine Amrani
Dentist at Tran Viet Dental Clinic

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