How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Dental Appointment
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur when they are around one year old, or six months after the first tooth comes out. Then, children should visit the dentist at least once a year. A visit to the dentist is an intimidating experience, even for adults.
So, how can you prepare your child to make sure that the experience is all smiled? You’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out how to make the trip to the dentist easy and stress-free for you and your child.
Make it Fun
Children respond best to unfamiliar situations when they’re having fun. Get your child excited for the pediatric dentist visit by making learning fun beforehand. For example, you can ‘play dentist’ with them, and let them practice giving their favorite stuffed animal or doll a dental examination. Guide them on what will happen and let them have fun with it.
Play games, sing songs about dental health and let them bring their toy with them to the dental visit so that they’ll feel at ease.
Read Books and Watch Videos
Pick up some children’s books that cover visits to the dentist and dentistry topics. Some of the well-known children’s characters, such as Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer, may help your child to feel excited and comfortable about the visit to the dentist. Show Me Your Smile! A Visit to the Dentist (Dora the Explorer) and Dentist Trip (Peppa Pig) are fantastic books to prepare your children for the dentist.
Similarly, you can find fun videos about going to the dentist that your kids will enjoy watching.
Children tend to mimic adult behaviors and are sensitive to their mood. If you remain positive and excited about the trip to the dentist appointment, they are likely to feel much more comfortable. Be mindful about the words that you use when you speak to your child about the dentist, and ensure that the vocabulary and tone are positive.
Avoid phrases such as ‘don’t be scared or ‘it won’t hurt as these have negative connotations and may instill a sense of fear. Use fun words like ‘shiny teeth’ and ‘happy mouth’ to put your child at ease.
Schedule the Appointment at the Right Time
For a smooth dental experience try to schedule the appointment at the best possible — when your child is usually in a good mood. First thing in the morning, for example, is not usually a good idea as children are tired and irritable. After a nap or a meal works well when they are relaxed and rested.
If your child is hungry or tired they are likely to be uncooperative and irritable — the perfect cocktail for a tantrum.
Make the Trip to the Dentist All Smiles
If you follow these tips and remain patient while preparing your child for a trip to the dentist, then the experience is likely to be all smiles! This is important to ensure that every trip to the dentist is smooth and there are no huge tantrums waiting to happen.
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