If your child is nearing their first birthday, it is time to schedule their first dentist appointment! According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, scheduling a visit to the dentist by their first birthday can help to set up your child for a lifetime of good oral health. Not only are healthy baby teeth important for the adult teeth that are growing beneath the surface, but they also facilitate your child’s speech development and chewing mechanisms. However, we understand that a first dentist appointment can be pretty stressful for a parent. That’s why we’ve compiled these tried and true techniques for an easy first appointment!
1. Start the process early.
We strongly recommend that parents plan their child’s initial visit by their first birthday or six months after their first tooth (whichever is earlier). Children are often at greater risk for tooth decay, which can be painful if left untreated. By bringing them to the dentist early, you can avoid the toothaches and procedures that might give them a negative association with the dentist.
2. Make it fun!
A trip to the dentist can be scary when your child doesn’t know what to expect. Therefore, you should try to use any opportunity you can to prepare them for the dentist in fun and exciting ways. You can try reading children’s books about visiting the dentist. You might also play pretend to act out visits to the dentist using a flashlight, toothbrush, and rinse cup. All in all, it is important to show your own excitement about the dentist to help them get more comfortable about their first visit.
3. Avoid scary terminology.
Of course you’ll want to avoid saying anything that could make the dentist seem scary. Avoid words like “needles” and “drills,” for example. However, if your child does need a procedure that could be slightly worrisome, you’ll want to explain the procedure as calmly as possible. Remind them that dentists can numb the area so they won’t feel a thing. With the latest technological advancements, your child truly won’t have anything to worry about.
4. Show your child the office beforehand.
Strange new places can be scary for a child. However, by stopping by the office before your appointment, you can help your child to get familiarized with the new place and new faces. This will help them to get used to the office before having to sit in the chair.
5. Stay relaxed.
A child’s fear of the dentist is most often passed down by their parents. In order to avoid this, it is important to keep calm and stay positive throughout the appointment. Remember: we are on your team! We’re here to help you and your child to have a stress-free visit. So relax and try to keep your child focused on looking forward to having strong and healthy teeth after their appointment.
To schedule your child’s first dentist appointment, be sure to call Countryside Dental Group today!