A child’s first dental visit is never an easy task, especially since children often fear unfamiliar settings and situations. The dentist’s office and all of its seemingly daunting instruments is no exception to this rule. Understandably, you’re probably just as nervous about your child’s first trip to the dentist as they are. You might even be wondering whether you’ve done a good job teaching your child proper oral hygiene. All you have to do is reassure yourself and your child that there’s absolutely nothing to fear.
Alert your dentist ahead of time that this is your child’s first dental visit. A good children’s dentist will prepare themselves and even provide you with sound first-time dental visit tips for your child. Since most dentists also specialize in family dentistry, you can even take your child to the same dental clinic that you frequent. Here are a few other ways you can make your child’s first visit to the dentist a successful one.
Choose a Kid-Friendly Dental Clinic
Most family dental clinics are kid-friendly with dental professionals who are experienced enough to handle children of all ages. Finding an age-appropriate clinic for your child is beneficial because it’s recommended that you schedule your child for their first dental checkup before their first birthday.
Let Your Children Play an Active Role in Their Oral Health
Instruct the dentist to speak directly to your child when discussing matters concerning their personal oral health. Encouraging your child to freely ask questions about their teeth and gums (provided they’re of speaking age) is also an effective way of soothing them and making them feel more comfortable at the dentist’s office. This is a prime opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with their surroundings and create a strong sense of structure, which is important for children of all ages. Allow them to look around the room and satisfy their curiosity while still monitoring what they do.
Bring Your Child’s Security Blanket or Favourite Toy Along
As most pediatric dental care professionals know firsthand, a security blanket or favourite toy is an excellent stress reliever for a lot of young children. It’s usually effective to have their own favourite toy to comfort them.
Prepare Your Child Ahead of Time
The general rule regarding children’s dentistry is that your child should start seeing the dentist on a regular basis—approximately once every six months—following the eruption of their first tooth and their first official checkup should be right before their first birthday. Before your child’s first official dental checkup though you might want to schedule a preliminary appointment with the dentist to help prepare you for what will happen during your child’s first dental appointment and to pickup the new patient information application. That way, you can sit down with your child and aptly explain to them the importance of good oral health and what they can expect when they visit the dentist. This will help ease some of their anxiety beforehand, if they are old enough to understand.
Dress Your Child in Their Favourite Outfit or Costume
Children enjoy playing make-belief and sometimes, pretending to be someone else such as their favourite movie character or superhero can give them the confidence they need to conquer intimidating situations. Letting your child choose their own outfit and dress themselves whenever they have to visit the dentist gives them a small taste of autonomy that makes them believe in their own fearlessness and that they’re capable of doing anything.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment at the Right Time of Day
As a parent, you know your child more than anyone else. When the time comes for your baby’s first dental visit, you should make every effort to schedule the appointment during a time of day when they’re usually calm. Despite the fact that dentists are used to dealing with fussy infants, it makes their jobs a lot easier if your child cooperates and doesn’t try to resist treatment or examination. Mid-morning to early afternoon is usually an ideal time of day to take your baby to the dentist.
Don’t Feed Your Child Right Before a Dental Appointment
Heavy meals, nerves, and dentistry are usually not a good combination for children. It’s best to avoid feeding your child directly before or after a dental appointment. The anxiety and fear from having to visit the dentist in the first place can make your child feel nauseated while they’re having their teeth examined and that won’t end well for anyone, especially the dentist. On the day of your child’s dental appointment, try to wake them up a little earlier than usual and feed them a very light breakfast to avoid the chances of them becoming physically ill during their dental examination.
Schedule Follow-Up Appointments with the Same Dentist
Making follow-up appointments is a simple and convenient way of tracking the progress of your child’s oral health and ascertaining that they’re taking good care of their teeth and gums. Not only does it instill good oral health habits in them from a very young age, but it also encourages them to maintain those initiatives as they get older and well into adulthood.
Introducing your child to a regular dental clinic such as Princeview Dental Group in Etobicoke is an excellent way to teach them good oral health habits. We offer many treatments including adult and children’s dental care, emergency dental care, routine cleanings, checkups, as well as performing simple and complex dental procedures whenever necessary. To learn more about our practice, or to book an appointment, please contact us today.