How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit
Now that your child is getting in their first baby teeth, it’s time to start considering the dentist. Visiting the dentist on a regular basis (every 6 months for normal check-ups) is essential for both young children and adults. Your child needs to see a dentist every 6 months to ensure their teeth are clean, healthy, and growing in properly.
Seeing a dentist for the first time can be a bit scary for some children. Their first dental visit will most likely cause the most anxiety for them, but once they understand who the dentist is, what to expect, and have a great experience, their fears and anxiety should quickly disappear.
Preparing your child to visit the dentist for the first time is a great step towards easing some of their fear of the dentist. In the guide below, you’ll find several tips on how to help prepare your little one. Continue reading to get started down the path to an anxious-free dental visit!
Start at an Early Age
The sooner you start bringing your child to the dentist, the less anxiety they’ll have. Children start seeing their pediatrician from the moment they’re born. They grow up in the doctor’s office and know exactly what to expect.
The dentist’s office is a bit different because they won’t need to see a dentist until their first tooth grows in. Once their first baby tooth grows in, do be sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The younger your child is when they first meet the dentist, the sooner they’ll feel more comfortable around them.
Choose the Right Dentist
It’s also important to take the time to find the right dentist for your child. The dentist you choose should have experience and training in providing dental services to young children. This is essential because dentists who have experience working with young children will know how to make a child feel safe and comfortable during the visit and can even make the visit a fun experience for them!
Be sure to research more info about choosing a new family dentist before making a final selection.
Tour the Office Before Their Appointment
After finding the right dentist for your child, do be sure to ask about touring the office beforehand. Taking a tour of the office can give you an idea about the type of environment your child will be in. Does the office seem kid-friendly?
How do the dentist and the staff interact with your child? This gives your child the opportunity to become more familiar with the office, the staff, and the dentist. It also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have for the dentist.
Teach Them the Importance of Seeing a Dentist
It’s important to remember that when a child doesn’t understand something, it can cause fear. As adults, we want to know why we must go somewhere or do something and what to expect when there. The same is true for our children.
Don’t let concern, worry, and confusion build up inside of them. Instead, teach them about the importance of seeing a dentist. Why should they visit the dentist on a regular basis?
What does the dentist do? What will happen to our teeth if we don’t see a dentist? What can you expect while at the dentist?
Answer all of these questions and more for your child.
Read Them a Book About Visiting the Dentist
A great way to help your child understand what the dentist does is to read them a book about visiting the dentist. There are many great children’s books on visiting the dentist. Try to find one that features your child’s favorite characters.
When they see their favorite characters visiting the dentist and having a good experience, they’ll feel more comfortable giving it a try as well.
Let Them Bring a Favorite Stuffed Toy
Even with all this preparation, visiting a new place and doing something different can still cause a bit of anxiety. For this reason, do consider allowing your child to bring one of their favorite stuffed toys with them. If they have a blanket they like to carry around, then let them take their blanket.
These are considered comfort items and will give them the comfort they need to feel safe during the visit. You can also consider bringing headphones and a tablet or portable DVD player for them to keep them distracted while there also. The headphones will also help drown out some of the loud noises caused by the different dental equipment, which can be scary for some children.
Use Positive Language When Explaining About the Dentist
The last thing to keep in mind is the way you speak to your child about the dentist. When explaining the dentist to them or talking about their first dentist appointment, be sure to always use positive language. Stay happy and get excited about their first visit.
Make it a special outing for them. You can even reward them with a visit to a favorite dessert spot or toy store once the visit is complete. When you make it a fun and exciting outing, they’ll begin to look forward to going.
You Can Make Your Child’s First Dental Visit a Great One
Your child’s first dental visit doesn’t have to be a dreadful one. You can make your child’s first visit to the dentist a wonderful experience for everyone. The best thing to do is prepare your child and yourself ahead of time.
Use the helpful tips given in this guide to get started. For more health topics and many other topics as well, don’t forget to check back here daily.