How do I prepare my child for the first dentist visit?
Going to the dentist can be traumatic for many adults. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 6 adults have a fear of the dentist and avoid visiting them.
Whether you have this fear or not, you don’t want to pass it on, or instill it, into your child. Fortunately, you don’t have to. With the right approach, you can prepare your child for their first dental visit and then establish a routine that makes them think of visiting the dentist as a normal, and even beneficial, event.
Find The Right Dentist
You may have been using the same dentist for years but that doesn’t mean they are the best one for your children! You need to find a dentist who is patient and has an understanding of children and how daunting the entire process can be.
It’s worth looking at which other dental practices are in your area, there are some that specialize in dentistry for kids and promise to actually make the visit fun. This is a great place to start.
If you’re not sure how good a dentist is with children ask your family and friends. If this is not enlightening then you can turn to social media and online forums. You’re certain to get honest opinions from people that have actually used the dentist.
If your child is already nervous about the dentist then you may want to take them to the dentist without an appointment. Of course, you may need to explain to the dental receptionist what you’re doing. The idea is simply to visit the dentist and stay in the waiting room for a short time. This will show your child that it’s not a scary experience. In fact, there will be plenty of things for them to play with.
Get The Right Routine
Children need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush and they need to learn to brush twice a day. The sooner you start this routine the more used to it they will become.
The right routine will help them to look after their teeth, this means that dental visits will automatically be easier as they are less likely to need work doing.
Of course, it also helps if you minimize the amount of sugar your child eats, as this is known to be bad for their oral health.
Talk To Your Child
Never underestimate the power of conversation. Take a few moments to talk to your child about the dentist. Tell them what is likely to happen on the first visit and that there is nothing to be afraid about. You can also reassure them that you’ll be with them every step of the way.
Then pause, and ask them if they have any concerns regarding the dentist. Make sure you listen to what they have to say and answer their concerns, this will make it much easier for them to visit the dentist with you.
Finally, as much as you need to prepare your child you need to avoid making the visit a big deal if it’s just something you do your child is less likely to get stressed about it.