Nearly 40% of the population struggles with dental anxiety. It can take root when your child is young and impact their oral health as they grow up.
The steps you take before your child’s first dental visit can ease their fears and anxiety. Here are eight tips that can help you before their first appointment. With these tips, you can ease their fears.
Your child won’t struggle through their appointment, either. Instead, they’ll have a better understanding of why it’s important to keep their teeth clean.
Then, you can prepare your child for the future. They’ll have an easier time prioritizing their oral health and dental care needs.
Keep reading to discover how to prepare for your baby’s first dental checkup with these tips today.
1. Start Young
When is a child’s first dental visit?
Prioritize taking your child in for their first dentist appointment when their first tooth comes in. This usually happens when they’re about six months old. Otherwise, take them in to visit the dentist before their first birthday.
You can also call your pediatric dentist to discuss your child’s first dental visit age.
It helps to introduce your child to their dentist while they’re still young.
You’ll have an easier time ensuring their comfort. Meanwhile, your child can grow accustomed to what happens during a checkup. They’ll realize there’s nothing to fear about going to the dentist.
Usually, the first visit to the dentist is quick and easy. You’ll get a chance to meet your child’s pediatric dentist. Meanwhile, your child can see the dentist’s office for themselves.
Use this initial appointment to learn more about your child’s oral health and dental needs.
For example, you might want to talk to the dentist if your child is sucking their thumb. Using a pacifier can impact how their teeth grow in, too.
Otherwise, your pediatric dentist can equip you with the tips you need to ensure your child doesn’t develop cavities. If you have a history of oral health problems, let the dentist know. They can help you make informed decisions regarding your child’s future health.
During the initial appointment, let your child explore their new environment. They’ll grow comfortable around the dentist’s office in time.
2. Choose a Fun Dentist
Before scheduling your child’s first dental visit, make sure you’re confident in the pediatric dentist you’ve selected.
First, talk with other parents in the area. Ask them what Pediatric Dentist they take their child to. They could point you in the right direction.
The number of pediatric dentists in America could increase by over 60% within the next 10 years. Gathering referrals can help you narrow down your options.
As you search for a pediatric dentist, try to find someone who is fun and comfortable around kids. Their personality could help put your child at ease. Choose a dentist with years of experience treating kids, too.
They’ll know how to interact and communicate with your child.
Someone who is nervous around kids, however, could make their patients nervous, too. After all, children tend to mimic adult behaviors.
Consider the practice as well. Choose a dentist’s office that’s kid-friendly. For example, they might have toys and books in the waiting room.
Maybe the decor is designed with kids in mind as well.
A children-friendly environment can help ease your child’s anxieties.
3. Discuss Oral Hygiene
Take the time to talk to your child about their oral health before their first dental appointment.
Talking about oral health will help your child realize it’s important to take care of their teeth and gums. You don’t have to tell them about their upcoming dentist’s appointment months in advance, though. In fact, discussing their appointment could give them time to think of the worst.
Instead, talk about why it’s important to brush and floss. Let them see your pearly whites, too!
4. Set the Example
Before your child’s first dental visit, try to set an example for your child.
Remember, they’re likely to mimic the adults around them. You can use that to your advantage. Make brushing your teeth a family endeavor.
Brushing your teeth together will encourage your child to mimic your positive behaviors. They’ll want to brush and floss their teeth.
5. Play at Home
Before your child’s first dental visit, try playing dentist at home.
Grab your child’s toothbrush and pretend you’re the dentist. Brush their teeth and praise them for their good work. Let them know what will happen during an appointment.
Consider switching roles, too. Letting your child play the dentist can help them feel more comfortable about the role.
6. Find Books and Videos
You can also help your child grow more comfortable about their dental visit by gathering books. Show them there’s nothing to fear.
Otherwise, head online and look for YouTube videos. There are many videos available to help kids prepare for their appointment. Your child will have an easier time visualizing what will happen during their appointment.
7. Time It Right
Consider when you’ll take your child in for their first appointment. When are they in the best mood? You might want to take them after breakfast or after naptime.
If they’re fussy right before their nap, they might not want to sit still during their appointment.
Make sure your child isn’t hungry or overstimulated.
8. Reward Good Behavior
Talk to your child about what you’ll do after their appointment as a reward for their good behavior. You don’t have to reinforce their good behavior with candy or sweets. Instead, consider taking them to the movies or giving them a small toy.
If the appointment doesn’t go as planned, try to avoid scolding your child. Otherwise, they’ll associate the scolding with the dentist’s office.
Instead, talk to them about what went wrong to find a solution in the future.
Baby’s First Dental Visit: 8 Helpful Tips for Preparing Your Child
Preparing for your child’s first dental visit can help put them at ease. Keep these eight tips in mind before their appointment. With these tips, they might even feel excited about their upcoming visit.
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