A first dental visit for your child may cause you anxiety, but your child does not know what to expect, and will generally follow your lead. Starting a child off with enjoyable, comfortable dental visits can make it easier for both of you, and lead to a lifetime of worry free, healthy dental care. So what can be done to make the dental visits and treatment go as smooth as possible?
Tips For A Fun Dental Visit
-Start With Good Oral Hygiene, and a Healthy Diet at Home. Good nutrition, and proper brushing should help keep your child cavity free. Dental visits are much easier to cope with, and feel at ease with, when there is little work to be done. Stay away from , soda, sticky sweets, and fruit gummies. Drink lots of milk and water, keep juice to a bare minimum. Teach and help with brushing and flossing everyday. Your child’s first dental visit should hopefully not be due to dental decay causing a toothache.
-Choose The Right Dentist – Not all dentists are comfortable treating children. In my opinion, a family dentist is the perfect choice for the ease of scheduling and the fact that the dentist you choose can treat your child into adulthood. Plus, children feel like grown ups to go to the same dentist as their parents and older siblings.
-Have Older Siblings Act as Role Models. A younger child usually will try harder to do something that they see big brother or sister do. If there are no siblings, have your child sit in the office with you, and at the end, have them sit in your lap for a quick peek, and a ride in the chair.
-Start Young – The earlier a child visits the dentist, the better. This will make a child very familiar with the surroundings of the dental office. It is best that the first visit starts at age 1 or when the first tooth is visible. The initial visit generally is an introduction visit with oral hygiene education for parents.
-Be Honest – Never try to fool or trick a child into doing something. Kids generally have a good sense of their surroundings and will react badly if they are tricked. Kids are quite strong and should be told what is going on so they can prepare themselves for it.
-Stay Positive – Most children’s dental fears arise from hearing their parents talk about their bad experiences of the dentist. Keep positive communication regarding dental care and dental treatment and visits with your children will go much smoother for all involved.
-Watch Your Words – Never use the words “shot” or “pain” words with children. Always use positive phrases to keep them happy. Negative words will transfer worry to the child.
-Communicate – Constant communication is needed to make this a great experience. If you encourage your child, and explain that they are going to have pictures taken of their teeth, their teeth polished and shined, etc. They will look forward to their appointment, and want to ask questions. A good dentist will also reinforce what you said and place your child at ease, answering questions, and explaining all that they do throughout the dental visit.
-Reward Good Behavior – Promise a reward for good behavior following dental treatment. Kids will associate the dentist with the prize and look past the actual visit toward what they may receive afterward, even if it is just a shiny, new toothbrush from the dentist. A second reward by you after the visit such as going to the park or a favorite place for lunch.
-Schedule Appointment Early In The Day – Arrange a dental visit as early as possible in the morning. This allows the visit to be done early in the day while the child is not tired and before the kids get wound up from the day. Kids deal with new things better when they are not exhausted.
Pediatric Dentistry Conclusion
Dental visits can be fun experiences. Most children who start young and problem free, can build a trust and confidence in themselves and their dentist. Children who learn good oral hygiene at a young age will thank their parents later in life when they experience less tooth related issues and stay healthier longer.