5 Steps to Prepare for Your Child’s First Dentist Visit
Most children have all their baby teeth by age two and a half, which means it’s vital tostart practicing good oral hygiene habits during the toddler years. This includes visiting the dentist.
You should schedule your child’s first dentist visit b, as soon as his or her first few teeth erupts. In this blog we’ll discuss five steps to help you prepare for that visit.
1. Find the Right Dentist
Before your child’s first appointment, look for an experienced dentist. If your own dentist sees children, then he or she may represent a good option. If not, you’ll want to find someone else. Your dentist may have recommendations, or you can talk to other parents to see where they take their children.
Once you find the right dentist, ask if you and your child can come in for a tour before the appointment. Familiarise your child with the office and some of the people he or she will encounter. Take note of the waiting room’s environment, the staff’s demeanour and the general atmosphere. You should also see if the staff hand out prizes at the end of children’s visits.
2. Instil Good Oral Hygiene Habits
The moment you notice your child’s first tooth, start brushing. Teach your child proper brushing technique and supervise him or her.
If your child has a habit of sucking on a thumb, pacifier or blanket, start weaning him or her off of it. While your child’s teeth develop, stay away from sticky foods and don’t provide a bottle at bedtime. Sugars that stay in the mouth overnight help bacteria grow.
To help your child learn good habits, practice them yourself. Setting an example can make all the difference.
3. Ensure Your Child Feels Comfortable in the Office
If you took a tour before the official appointment, your child will already recognise the office. Regardless, take these other steps when you finally do go in for the appointment.
Introduce your child to every person you encounter to make the personnel seem nonthreatening. Bring a favourite toy or blanket so your child has something familiar to cling to if he or she feels overwhelmed. Join your child for the appointment so that you can be there to help if he or she starts to feel scared.
4. Understand What the Visit Entails
When you first make the appointment, talk with office staff about what exactly your child will experience. A typical first dentist trip allows your child and the dentist to get to know each other. The dentist will need to know about any medications, allergies or sucking habits that your child has.
The dentist will likely go over the importance of good oral hygiene. Like your regular dental cleanings, your child’s first appointment will include cleaning and polishing, and maybe a coat of fluoride. The dentist will introduce any new tools used and explain what each does before using it.
5. Make the Visit Something to Look Forward To
In the days before the visit, talk to your child about what to expect. The most important tactic to remember when doing this is to not make it sound at all scary or intimidating. Even if you have misgivings or anxiety, do not let those fears show.
Instead, make the visit something to look forward to. You can transform the visit into an adventure by talking about the special chair that moves up and down, turning the special people your child will meet into plaque-fighting superheroes and playing dentist with dolls or stuffed animals.
Following these steps will help make that first dentist visit that much easier, as well as every trip to come. If you have questions about your child’s specific needs or your dentist’s policies, bring them up before or during this initial appointment.