The very first time you take your child to the dentist is important, as many children (and adults) are afraid of the dentist. Lying helplessly inside the dentist’s chair isn’t pleasant but if you honor a simple factsheet during your child’s first visit, the little ones should be just fine.
Knowing the procedure
We are afraid of the things we know nothing about, so getting to know the procedure at the dentist can help alleviate fear. The initial stage of the examination will involve the dentist evaluating the state of the child’s gums, teeth, bite, as well as oral tissue.
The examination is mostly visual, although in some cases, you might need to get an oral X-ray if the dentist deems it necessary. Afterward, the educative part of the visit comes, when the dentist discusses oral hygiene with the parents.
The dentist will most probably ask the parents about risk factors, such as hereditary diseases. They will then advise you on how to take care of your child’s teeth at home (brushing in the morning and before bed). As a parent, you can prepare a list of questions for the dentist.
“Ready to see the dentist?”
After you and your child understand better what to expect at the dentist’s, it’s time to make sure your children are ready for the visit. The young ones can sense that visiting the dentist isn’t going to be the most thrilling experience of their lifetime, so it’s OK for them to be somewhat afraid.
You can offset this uneasiness by offering them a reward if they behave well and ensure them that a dentist isn’t as scary as he/she sounds. Of course, this is going to depend on the individual, so make sure you choose a true professional.
A professional dentist
The better a dentist is, the more attention they will dedicate to the prevention of dental issues, especially at such a young age. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to ask around for the best professional in the business.
The quickest way to find a good children dentist is to ask your friends and family for recommendations, especially if they have kids. As an alternative, your general physician or pediatrician can certainly refer you to one of their colleagues.
Once you settle on an individual, it’s time to evaluate the clinic you are taking your child in. First of all, the dental practice should be child-friendly, so your toddle isn’t scared the first time he/she walks inside. The staff at the clinic should have experience in dealing with young patients, as kids should be relaxed when they sit in the dental engine for the first time.
Setting a good example
When you start taking your child to the dentists, you will have to freshen up (pun intended) your own oral hygiene. Children imitate their parents, so if you’re not brushing your teeth regularly, it will be hard to convince your kid(s) that oral hygiene is imperative.
Learning about dental health through play
Whether your child likes to play with dolls or toy cars, they have probably never set up a mock dental practice. The first appointment is ideal to buy the ma toy doctor’s set and play with them. This way, they will learn that being a dentist is fun and that there is no reason to be afraid.
A pretend dental visit would include them opening wide and you pretending to examine their teeth, while they giggle. Moreover, you can imitate the sound of the drill, which is among the scariest sounds in a dental office (N.B. latex gloves are scary too).
A plan for the future
If the first appointment goes well, it’s time to prepare for the next. After the first visit to the dentist, you should work out a plan of visits in the years to come. Even if (hopefully) your child’s oral health is perfect, prevention is the best way to stay healthy.
Just like adults, children should see the dentist every six months for checkups. With adequate oral hygiene, these visits will ensure that potential problems are spotted in time to prevent tooth decay. The sooner you react, the less painful the procedure will be for the child.
Now that you have a better understanding of what to expect from your child’s very first visit to the dentist, you can prepare them better for it. Dentists aren’t that scary when your child understands what they do, so there is no need to be afraid.