Are you avoiding making that appointment for your child’s first dental visit?? Here are a few tips to start the new year off right for you and your child!
- Choose either a Pediatric Dentist or one that’s kid-friendly. Pediatric dentists go through an extra 2 years of training to deal with all types/ages of children, and any special issues that arise. Their goal is to create a fun, safe, kid-friendly atmosphere from the office décor to the chairside care that your child will remember with a smile.
- Make your child comfortable with brushing and flossing. Make brushing fun at home, and help your child become familiar with having someone look at their teeth. Practice brushing and flossing together. Sing a song while brushing…there’s a bunch of songs to sing!
- Set up healthy eating habits at home. A healthy mouth starts at home. When preparing meals, make sure they are foods low in sugar, which will prevent cavities. Limit sugary snacks and treats.
- Play pretend. Make believe at home that your child is having their first visit. You can be the dentist, and act out the things that they may encounter. You can even use stuffed animals as the patient if the child is hesitant or resistant.
- Open the floor for questions. Answer all questions, but make sure your answers are in terms that they will understand, without evoking fear. We can be honest, but maybe not brutally honest to the point that we are imposing our own dental fears on them.
- Be their teacher. Teach them about their teeth; why they’re important, and instill early healthy habits. Start early!
- Get psyched! —this can be fun! Get them excited to have their teeth counted. Most pediatric dentists have an array of fun toothbrushes with awesome colors or characters, and a menu of different flavored toothpastes that they can choose during their visit, from fruity to ice cream flavors!
- Grab a book. There are so many good books out there that can help prepare your child for their first visit. Some great books are:
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan Berenstain
- Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer
- Curious George Visits the Dentist by Margaret and H.A. Rey
- Sometimes they need baby steps. Sometimes a child is not ready to dive right into a first visit. In those instances, you can schedule a meet and greet where the child will visit the office, meet some of the staff and the dentist, pick a prize, then return another day for a full visit. Baby steps may be necessary sometimes to build that trusting relationship. You know your child the best.
- You can shape their view of dentistry. You know they look up to you, so speak positively about going to the dentist; no matter what your history. Be the best role model possible. Show them good oral habits, and the perks of having a healthy beautiful smile!
If you need any help or advice, please feel free to contact our office! We're here to make you smile!