Giving your kids good dental habits such as brushing and flossing will help them have a healthy mouth and smile for a lifetime. Good dental habits start at home and they look to your for an example.
The next thing they need to learn is how to go to the dentist.
You want to make sure the first experience is as pleasant and stress free as possible in order to help make going to the dentist something your kids aren’t frightened of.
Below are some tips to help make that first visit for your child a success.
Child’s first dental visit tips
- If possible, give your child a preview so they know what to expect. Your child may be able to visit the dentist with you on a checkup. If another parent can attend to the child, then they will get a chance to see Mom or Dad visit the dentist and see that nothing bad happens to them. Your dentist may also let your child do a “walk through” of the office before their first appointment.
- Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist such as David Wilhite, has had extra years of training to work with children.
- Talk about the visit at home. Explain to your child that a dentist will look at their mouth and count their teeth. Avoid using phrases such as “It won’t hurt.” That may seem innocent enough but it can place a negative idea in your child’s mind.
- Look at a children’s book. All kids love books. Go to your local library and you’ll find several books about visiting the dentist and the doctor. Check one out and read it with them in the nights and weeks leading up to that first visit.
- Play dentist with a stuffed animal. You can both pretend to be the dentist and open a stuffed animals mouth. You can count teeth (or pretend to) and show how a trip to the dentist is not a big deal.
- Time the visit around your child’s moods. Every parent knows when their kids is most likely to be happy or crabby. If your kid gets crabby in the afternoon before nap time, DON’T plan your visit around that time. Set the visit up for success with good planning.
- Treat the visit as normal. A visit to the dentist should be a “big deal” or an “ordeal”. Keep it positive and simple. It’s just a routine visit that everyone does.