When should you take your child in for their first dentist visit? Try to schedule an appointment by their first birthday. Their initial visit will help them get comfortable in the dentist’s chair.
It can also help you learn about how to properly care for your child’s oral health.
It’s normal for children (and their parents) to feel anxious about a child’s first dental visit, though. Here are seven tips that can help you both prepare for the appointment. With these tips, you can help your child feel comfortable about visiting their pediatric dentist.
The steps you follow now could help them avoid dental anxiety for years to come.
Get ready for your child’s first dental visit with these seven easy tips today.
1. Get Excited
Help your child feel comfortable about their first dentist appointment by getting excited. Showing them there’s nothing to fear could put their dental anxiety at ease. If you’re nervous about it, however, your child could pick up on it.
After all, children tend to mimic their parents. Use that to your advantage.
Start a positive dialogue with your child before their first dental visit. Tell them what you love about visiting the dentist yourself. Make sure to paint a picture in kid-friendly terms.
Talking to your child about their first dental visit can keep them from picturing worst-case, scary scenarios. You can reduce the chances of surprises during their first appointment, too.
Remember, it’s important to take your child in for their first dentist visit before their first birthday. Visiting a pediatric dentist early on will help your child feel more comfortable. They can start to learn that dental checkups are a normal part of life.
During the appointment, make sure to ask the dentist about tips for brushing and caring for your child’s teeth. Ask the dentist about teeth-friendly snacks and foods, too.
The information you gather during your child’s first dental visit can set them up for long-term healthy oral habits.
2. Gather Reading Materials
Remember, you could ease your child’s dental anxiety by helping them learn more about what to expect before going to the dentist. Consider gathering children’s books about going to the dentist. There are also TV shows and YouTube clips you can find online.
Using fun, familiar characters to help your child learn about dental care can help them feel at ease beforehand. Choose characters your child is already familiar with. Using a friendly character they relate to can lessen any fears they’re developing.
If your child starts to feel nervous before their appointment, talk to them about the reading materials or videos you chose. Remind them that they’re safe.
Consider scheduling a consultation appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist before their first appointment. Speaking with the dentist beforehand could help you gather more tips. They could even suggest reading materials you can use to put your child at ease.
3. Play Dentist at Home
You can also help your child feel more comfortable about visiting the dentist by playing dentist at home.
Start by playing the role of the dentist yourself. Check your child’s teeth and instruct them how to brush properly. Then, switch roles.
Let your child take charge. Have them take on the role of the dentist using a stuffed animal or doll. You can play the patient, too.
Allowing your child to roleplay could help them picture their dental visit as a fun experience. It can also help them feel control over a brand new experience.
4. Bring a Toy
Before your child’s first dentist visit, try to plan what will happen the day of their appointment. First, consider when you’ll take them to the dentist. When does your child feel most calm?
For example, they might feel happiest first thing in the morning, after lunch, or after a nap.
Plan to bring a familiar toy that puts them at ease, too.
The dentist’s office is unfamiliar territory. The bright lights, strange sounds, and machines could make your child feel nervous. Bring a toy or blanket to help put your child at ease.
Holding onto a stuffed animal or blanket they’re familiar with can help them feel calm and comfortable.
5. Choose the Right Specialist
The number of US pediatric dentists could increase by over 60% within the next decade. Before scheduling your child’s first dentist visit, make sure to choose their dentist wisely. Take the time to choose a pediatric dentist with years of experience treating young patients.
Someone with experience treating children will know how to put younger patients at ease. Pediatric dentists complete two years of specialized training, too. They know all about the nuances of treating younger patients.
They’ll also have more intimate knowledge about your child’s development and the special care they’ll need.
Try to avoid talking about the pediatric dentist in a negative light. Instead, remain honest so your child knows what to expect without using phrases that might cause fear.
6. Use Positive Reinforcement
Consider using positive reinforcement to encourage your child to behave during their appointment. For example, you can promise a visit to the park or a new toy. Try to avoid promising sugary treats, which might send the wrong message.
Giving your child a reward after they visit the dentist might help them create a positive association with dental visits.
Make sure your child knows how you expect them to behave beforehand, too.
7. Help Your Child Understand
Talk to your child about the importance of dental care and oral hygiene. For example, you can explain how sugar and cavities can impact their smile. Explain that without oral health care, bacteria can cause infections and disease.
Helping your child understand the importance of dental care will help them realize they need to visit their pediatric dentist.
Stunning Young Smiles: 7 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dentist Visit
Preparing your child for their first dentist visit shouldn’t feel stressful. Instead, try using these seven tips before their first dental visit. These tips can help put your child in a state of ease.
They could even feel excited before their first appointment.
Ready to schedule your child’s first-ever visit to the dentist? We can’t wait to see you both.
Contact us today to schedule your first visit to Kids Stop Dental!