The dentist has been something that traditionally can inspire fear and anxiety in children, and then their parents! However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The first dentist’s visit can be a lot of fun and very educational for kids. Parents can help with that by following some easy tips to get their kids ready for the dentist and set up for a long and successful life of oral hygiene and health.
1. Take Your Child with On Your Dental Visit
We all know that modeling good behavior is a major part of parenting, and a dental visit can be no different. Showing that you are relaxed and comfortable for your dental visit and providing an example that the dentist is nothing to be afraid about can do as much or better than telling them constantly. This is especially true if you and your child will share the same dentist or office so that they can see the same environment when they make their first visit.
2. Preparation Starts at Home
Setting expectations is massively important for children so that they aren’t going in blind to the experience. Talking with your child a lot about the upcoming visit and framing it in a positive light will do a world of good for easing your child’s brain. There are a couple of important things to note; many dentists would advise against telling your child that it won’t hurt a bit – mostly because that can plant the seed in their brain that there might be pain involved! Just simply mention that the dentist will look in their mouth to count their teeth or check on them, setting the expectation that the dentist just wants to see how they are growing and how big they are becoming (always a hit with children!).
3. Set the Right Appointment Time
Kids have schedules and routines that they naturally fall into – one’s that you certainly know well as their parents. You’ll want to set their first dental appointment up to be a time of day when your child is most likely to be awake, alert, and in a good mood. Obviously, a tired kid is one that can melt down quickly and take a routine dental visit into something that goes south quickly.
4. Your Child’s Attitude Will Reflect Your Own
There is no need to go over the top but making sure you are always talking about the dentist in a positive light will help your kid think along the same lines. Make it seem like the dentist visit is totally routine, but also a good thing will help avoid your child getting amped up for the visit and hopefully allow things to go through without a hitch.
5. Know When to Fold ‘Em
Discretion can be the better part of valor. If things aren’t going well at your first try at the appointment, don’t be afraid to cancel and reschedule. Ending the experience when it isn’t going well can set you up better for the future than pushing through and allowing your child to have strong and negative emotions for the dentists. Most dentists who work with children regularly will totally understand – they’ve seen it all before!
By following some of these tips, you’ll hopefully have a solid first dental visit with your child. Contact us now and let us help your child on the path to healthy teeth!