AS PARENTS, THERE IS nothing better in the world than our children’s smiles. However, while it is easy for adults to understand the role the dentist plays in keeping those smiles healthy, a little boy or girl does’t always know why it’s important to go to a strange place where an unfamiliar grown-up is going to poke around in their mouth. That’s why it’s important to prepare your child for their first visit ahead of time!
Dental Anxiety Is Common For Children And Adults
There are several reasons your child might be nervous about going to the dentist for the first time. New things are often scary. Sometimes their peers at school might tell them alarming stories, and sometimes family members are guilty of deliberately scaring them. Children are also very observant, so if you are afraid of the dentist, they can probably tell and they’ll think they should be afraid too.
Helping Your Child Look Forward To The Dentist
No matter what is causing your child’s dental anxiety, there are plenty of ways you can help!
• Start early. Ideally, the first dental visit should happen around when the first tooth erupts. If you make dental visits routine early on, your child will be able to build a trusting relationship with the dentist and grow up with a good perspective on dental care that can last a lifetime.
• Play pretend! For younger children, the best way to explain something complicated or new can often be role play. You can play the part of the dentist and give them an idea of what to expect and why it can be fun rather than scary.
• Explain. Your child will be much happier if they know what’s going to happen ahead of time. If your child is old enough, explain a little about what their visit will be like.
• Meet the dentist. One of the main sources of stress for your child is that the dentist is someone unfamiliar, and you can fix that by doing a meet-and-greet ahead of time.
• Choose a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have extra training beyond general dentists that gives them expertise on working with children. Their offices are also more kid-friendly, with fun waiting room activities and accommodations to make the visit as comfortable and relaxing as possible.
• Be there for them. All the information won’t make up for the comforting presence of an adult your child knows and loves, so be there for them as much as they need you during their first few visits.
• Teach them about dental hygiene. Understanding the value of good oral hygiene and being proud of their healthy smiles will help your child understand why going to the dentist is important.
Our Team Can Help!
If you need help preparing your child for the dentist, we’ve got your back. We want to ensure they have a happy, healthy smile for life, and we can work with you and your child to ensure their experience at the dentist is a good one. If you have any questions about what you can do to prepare for your child’s first visit, just let us know and we will be delighted to help!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.