Did you know that you should bring your child to their first visit to the pediatric dentist within six months of their first tooth popping through (or before their first birthday)? That might seem early, but it’s the best way to keep their smile healthy!
But how do you prepare your child for their first official visit? What about for their first dentist visit when they’re old enough to say “no!” to? Let’s talk about it.
Read on to learn all about how to prepare your child for the dentist.
Your Baby’s First Dentist Visit
You may need to have your baby’s health history available and you should know when their tooth first came through. You should also already be cleaning your child’s gums and any teeth that are already in.
While the first dentist visit will be brief, your baby may still be stressed, even with the best pediatric dentist. Consider calming them with a small toy or even breastfeeding if that’s something that you do.
First Dentist Visit as a Toddler or Child
So what about the first dentist visit that your child will actually be “present” for? A child won’t remember their actual first dentist visit, but when they’re an older child or toddler, they may actually experience anxiety before their appointment.
Here are a few ways to soothe an older child before they visit the dentist.
Explain the Situation
Tell your child all of the benefits of visiting the dentist. Let them know how the dentist keeps their teeth healthy and clean. You can even talk about your own good experiences with the dentist.
If your child has specific concerns, talk about them. They may be worried about scary tools or painful procedures. Let your child know that this is just a checkup.
Play Dentist at Home
You can get playsets that mimic a dentist’s tools for your child to play with at home. Whether they get a dentist barbie or a full collection of dentist’s equipment, they’ll be able to ease their own fears through playtime.
Pretend that they’re the patient, and then reverse the rolls. Keep it light.
Show Your Child Books and Shows About the Dentist
This is one of the best things that you can do for your child if they’re feeling nervous about visiting the dentist. There are plenty of children’s books and shows available all about going to the dentist!
Some of them focus on going to the dentist because of a cavity, but others are just about routine visits.
Children feel more comfortable when they see familiar characters doing things that they perceive as scary. The books and shows will break down the dentist’s visit in a way that your child should be able to understand.
Is Your Child Ready for the Dentist?
Whether it’s the actual first dentist visit or just the first dentist visit for a toddler or older child, these tips should make the process go smoothly. Remember: taking your child to the dentist early will set them up for a life of good dental health and no dental anxiety!
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