Do you have a child who’s starting to grow teeth? Their first visit to the dentist doesn’t have to be a traumatizing experience. In fact, with a little bit of preparation, you might find they actually enjoy going to get their teeth cleaned.
Here are a few tips that will help you make your kid’s first visit to a dentist a positive one:
- Know when to go: If you haven’t taken your child to the dentist yet, you might be wondering when you should make your first appointment. A good rule is to either begin with the arrival of the first tooth, or around the child’s first birthday. Some pediatricians will do basic checks in the mouth, but they do not have the same training dentists do in terms of tracking growth and development of the jaw, palate and teeth. The earlier you spot any potential issues, the better off your child’s oral health will be. Plus, introducing them to the dentist earlier on will make the experience less nerve-racking as they grow older!
- Talk about teeth early: As soon as your child’s teeth start coming on, you can begin teaching them what teeth are, what they’re used for and why it’s important to take good care of them. You can also begin to introduce brushing their teeth. Obviously many children will be too young to really understand, but the big thing is to just get them used to taking care of their teeth. Have your kids start pointing to their teeth and tongue, and participate in activities that teach them about teeth. The more familiar they are with teeth before their first dentist appointment, the less likely it is to be a scary trip.
- Help with brushing teeth: Tooth brushing is an important part of your everyday routine, and it’s important to introduce this practice to children early on as well. Make it a group activity—bring your children into the bathroom with you while you brush your teeth and demonstrate how you do it, then guide them through the motions of brushing their teeth as well. If you’re having a hard time getting your toddlers to cooperate with you while you do this, try to think of ways to make it a fun experience, or something that you do right before you do something fun.
- Keep a good attitude: If you go into the dental appointment full of nervousness that your child will have a meltdown, your child will sense that and become nervous themselves. Instead, stay relaxed and happy. Pair going to the dentist with some sort of fun activity or treat. Talk about what the dentist is going to do during the appointment in a positive way. If you have older children with experience going to the dentist, this is an opportunity for them to serve as good role models.
Need some more pointers for making your child’s first dental appointment a success? Contact a dentist today to learn more.
Categorised in: Dentist