Preparing Your Child for Their First Visit to the Dentist
Parenthood is all about exciting firsts that you share with your child – their first word, first step, first real meal, and so on. Some of these firsts are a bit more daunting than others, such as their first visit to the dentist.
It is recommended that parents take their child to a dentist no later than their first birthday. While this may feel like it’s too soon for a dental visit, there are plenty of reasons to make the decision to acquaint them with a dentist early on in their oral development.
The most important reason is that it allows you to monitor the health of their teeth as soon as they grow a few. It is fairly possible to develop cavities as soon as new teeth come up.
Don’t hide the idea of visiting a dental clinic from your child; instead, prepare them for it. This will help to positively shape their attitude towards visiting the dentist. There are a number of ways to prepare your child.
Bringing Your Child to the Clinic Before Their First Visit
If the child has an older sibling, you can help your child get acquainted with the dentist’s office and its environment by taking your child along during the sibling’s dental appointment. It will help them become comfortable with the environment and put them more at ease.
Doing this will show your child how to behave at a dental clinic by observing other children present at the clinic. They will also become acquainted with the dentists working at the clinic, which will allow them to relax when it is their time to come in for their visit.
Visit the dental clinic to make the first appointment in person with your child. If the child doesn’t have an older sibling, this works in the same manner as discussed above. The child gets an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the dentists working at the clinic. They will get to check the space out and familiarize themselves so that they feel more comfortable when they come in for their appointment.
The noise and appearance of the machinery used in a dental clinic can overwhelm a child. If you ask the dentist to explain what each tool does and how it feels to the child, it can help them feel more at ease.
Additionally, the dentist and patient can agree on certain cues that the patient can give if they experience any discomfort mid-procedure.
Lastly, ask the dentist to give your child a walkthrough of the procedures they will perform and how it will benefit their oral health. The better your child understands, they less fear and anxiety they will have.
As the child gains more knowledge about the functionality of a visit to the dentist, they will be less apprehensive and more willing to go along. They will also be encouraged to maintain a dental-health routine while at home.
Choosing the Right Dentist
It’s important to choose a family-friendly dentist for your child’s first visit. Not every dentist treats children. It is necessary to find one who has the right equipment, amount of patience, and attitude.
Trusting the dentist is half the battle for young patients. Choose a dentist who will take the time to communicate and to comfort your child before starting the treatment.
Dr. Dan Miller is a skilled cosmetic dentist with a great deal of experience when it comes to treating children. For more about your child’s first visit with Dr. Miller, contact us today.