No one enjoys visiting the dentist. This is especially true for young children who may not understand what is happening. The first dentist appointment is often the hardest since the child doesn’t know what he or she should expect. As a parent, it is important to prepare your child for their first trip to the dentist so that it will go as smoothly as possible.
1.Find the Right Pediatric Dentist
The very first step for this experience is to find the best pediatric dentist in your area. Ask family, friends, and co-workers for their personal recommendations, and ask around on social media as well. Once you have a few ideas on who might be a good fit, check out their online reviews. A great pediatric dentist will be kind, patient, and friendly with his or her patients. Ask as many questions as you need before choosing.
2.Start the Process Young
According to the America’s Pediatric Dentists, toddlers should see a dentist when their first tooth comes in or when they turn one, whichever comes first. The earlier your child sees a dentist, the easier it will be for them to handle it. Always talk about the dentist in a positive light, even when you have to visit one yourself. Children learn what they hear and see, so make sure they consider their dentist a friend and not an enemy. Any negative experiences on your part will trigger anxiety.
3.Start With a Pretend Visit
Before you head to the first dental appointment, play pretend with your child. He or she will be the patient while you will be the dentist. Hold up a mirror to show them what the dentist will be looking at. Practice having them open their mouth wide like the dentist will have them do. They can also practice rinsing and spitting. Avoid any drilling noises while you pretend, and don’t start talking about all of the other instruments the dentist might use. You want to keep things simple and fun.
4.Don’t Put Too Much Stress on the Visit
The first visit to the dentist will likely be a little bit stressful no matter what you do to avoid it. Expect that your child may fuss a bit, and remember that your dentist has seen it before. Try to head to the dentist after your child has had a good night’s sleep or a nap. They shouldn’t go on an empty stomach, either. If they do fuss, keep calm. The dentist and staff will guide you on the best course of action if your child does throw a tantrum in the chair.
Good oral hygiene should start early. Follow these four tips to make the first visit as easy as possible.