Ideally, a child’s initial trip to the dentist should be the start of a long, friendly relationship. After all, good dental health is an integral part of overall wellness, so there will hopefully be lots of checkups in their future. What can you do to make your child’s first dental visit a positive experience? Prepare them. Here are a few tips.
5 Tips for your Child’s First Dental Visit
Visiting the dentist probably isn’t on the list of your ten favorite activities. That’s okay. We understand. However, you’ll want to choose your words wisely when talking about dental visits around children. Kids are very impressionable and prone to mimicry. If they believe that you’re anxious or unhappy about the prospect of seeing the dentist, they’ll feel the same way. Help your child have a good experience by staying positive prior to your child’s first dental visit. Talk about the way that the dentist helps people have happy, healthy smiles and how good it feels to have clean, strong teeth.
Talk About Teeth
The unknown can be both exciting and scary. To dispel some of the fear, talk about teeth and the importance of good oral health before your child’s first pediatric dental visit. Explain that strong, healthy teeth help people smile, chew and speak clearly. Teach them about oral hygiene topics like limiting sugary foods and brushing their teeth. Help them develop good habits. Encourage them to look at their teeth, count them and draw pictures with toothy grins.
Use Fun Stories
Many of the beloved characters in children’s fiction have made trips to the dentist. Use these familiar faces and fun stories to get your child thinking about the work that dentists do and what a visit to one might be like. Identify books and videos where characters go to the dentist and share them with your child before your child’s first dental visit. Encourage your little one to play dentist by counting a toy’s teeth and teaching it how to take care of them.
Let Them Be an Observer First
Dentists who offer pediatric dentistry services understand that it’s best to keep things simple and fun for small patients. When it comes to routine checkups, a kids dentist visit typically goes quickly. A dental professional will check their teeth, clean them and offer advice about their care. While you can and should tell your child what to expect, letting them see can be even better. If possible, allow your child to be an observer before they’re a patient. When a friend or family member has a routine checkup planned, let your child tag along and watch.
Offer Comfort and Encouragement
Even with preparation, facing something new can be unnerving, even for your child’s first dental visit. Offer comfort and encouragement to a child making their first pediatric dental visit. Let them bring along a favorite toy for support. You might also consider offering a reward for a successful visit as a form of positive reinforcement.
While baby teeth may be temporary, the need for oral health care is lifelong. At Wekiva Dental, we strive to build nurturing, long-term relationships with patients young and old. We offer an array of family dentistry services, including pediatric dentistry services for children ages 3 and up. To learn more, contact us today at 407-869-7333.