You’re ready to schedule your child’s first dental office visit. It’s an exciting first, but also a daunting one. It’s no secret that many kids fear the dentist, but we know a secret too. Children aren’t born afraid of the dentist, and they don’t ever have to feel fear. You can help make their first dental visit a success by planning ahead and helping them feel prepared.
Confidence goes a long way. When you equip your child with dental knowledge ahead of time, they walk in like they own the place. They know exactly what to expect. Instead of feeling scared of a new place, they feel excited! It’s a great foundation to lay for the future of their dental health and many dental office visits to come.
Find a Reliable Family Dentist
Your first step is finding a dentist that’s a good fit for your family. The adults in your family need to visit a dentist, and so do your kids. You can call a specialty dentist’s office, but why? If your kids are of widely different ages, you don’t want to take them to different dentists.
A family dentist can schedule your family for convenient office visits together and get to know everyone in your home. If you have potentially hereditary dental problems, they can be aware of your children’s teeth issues. Plus, visiting the same office each time helps your child develop a level of comfort over time.
Quick Tips to Prepare Your Child for Their First Visit
It’s time to prepare for your child’s visit once you find the best family dentist. Remember, children don’t have any preconceived ideas about a dentist’s office. You have the power to set the stage for their first dental visit. Your child will definitely have lots of questions about dentists. Be patient as you answer them, and remember you’re helping them build confidence.
Tell Your Child the Same Day as the Appointment
You may be tempted to tell your child about an upcoming dentist visit days or weeks ahead. Children can be naturally anxious about new things, so don’t tell them in advance. Instead, tell them the day of the appointment. Make sure they feel like it’s a special rite of passage, so they feel less anxious.
Read Stories or Watch Videos About Going to the Dentist
You can still prepare your child even though you don’t tell them about their first dentist appointment quite yet. Visit your local library or children’s bookstore to read books about the dentist. You can also search online to find dental videos appropriate for your child’s age.
Exposure to dentist visuals helps your child feel more prepared. If they see a dentist, a dental chair, and dental tools in advance, they won’t be as overwhelmed by the real thing. It’s a lot to see and experience at one time, especially for younger children.
Your children already love games. Why not use that to your advantage? You can download dentist games from your phone’s app store or create your own fun at home. For example, you can use dolls and stuffed animals to practice visiting the dentist. Let your child pretend to be the dentist and clean their toys’ teeth.
Quick Tips to Prepare Yourself
Your kids are ready for the dentist, and now it’s your turn. Whether you know it or not, you’re probably just as nervous as your child, if not more. A child’s first dental office visit is a big deal. But, it’s essential to keep your cool. Kids can sense if you’re nervous, and it might make them feel nervous, too.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Speak in positive terms when you have conversations about the dentist. For example, instead of saying, “The dentist’s office isn’t scary,” or “It’s not going to hurt”, say, “Your first dental visit will be fun!” Instead of saying, “You better be on best behaviour or…”, say, “We will do _____ after your first dental visit because I know you’ll do great.”
When it comes to visiting the dentist, bringing a familiar face can really help. Encourage your child to pick a favourite toy to take with them. If it was a toy you played dentist with, make sure you share that with your family dentist. They will be happy to hear about your toy’s first dentist experience at home!
Schedule Appointments Wisely
Think about your child’s daytime routine when scheduling a first dental office visit. Do they nap at a particular time? Are they used to sleeping in or eating lunch at a certain time? Schedule their first appointment around your convenience, even if it means booking a little further out. The perfect timing can make all the difference for your child having a great first dental experience.
Tour the Dentist’s Office
There are pros and cons to waiting longer in the office. But a few extra minutes to take everything in before they sit in the dental chair may help. Getting acclimated to their surroundings can help your child feel more confident about the dentist’s office. You can even bring your dentist books and compare pictures to what you see in the office.
Having an older child or a parent have their check-up first shows the first-timer how it is done. It will also give the child more time to acclimatise to the dental environment.
Calm Child, Happy Parent
Your child’s debut dental appointment is a big deal. You’re laying the foundation for their future dental health. When you prioritise dental appointments, you teach your children that oral care is vital to their overall health. If you’re ready to schedule your child’s first appointment, please reach out to our team. We’d love to be part of making that first dental visit a great one for your child.