Is your son or daughter nervous about their first visit to the dentist? The unfamiliar experience alongside all the new sights, sounds, and faces at a dental practice can sometimes be overwhelming for your little one. Thankfully, there are several simple ways you can prepare them for their appointment and help them feel more at-ease in the dentist’s examination chair. Here are some practical tips from your Castle Rock pediatric dentist to make your child’s first dental visit a great one!
1.) Start Young
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child’s first dental visit should be before their first birthday. Aside from detecting any issues as early as possible, initiating regular checkups in very young children can help them form a positive first impression of oral health care and avoid dental anxiety.
2.) Keep It Simple
When talking with your child about their upcoming appointment, don’t go over unnecessary details or treatments that could cause them to feel nervous. Many experts recommend telling your child that the dentist is going to count their teeth and look for “sugar bugs.”
3.) Watch Your Words
How you speak about visiting the dentist plays a key role in informing your child how to feel about their appointment before they even go. Even if you have a bit of dental anxiety yourself, do your best to talk about their checkup in a positive, upbeat way. You may even find yourself feeling a bit more relaxed as well!
4.) Play Pretend Dentist at Home
Everyone gets nervous about new experiences from time to time. Help your child understand what to expect at their dental appointment with a pretend one at home. Have them sit in a chair as you count their teeth with a toothbrush.
5.) Read Books About the Dentist
There are numerous children’s books about going to the dentist. The easy language, colorful pictures, and familiar cartoon characters like Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants can help your son or daughter see that getting a dental checkup isn’t a big deal.
6.) Bring Extra Moral Support
If your little one has a favorite toy or blanket, ask your dentist if they can bring it along to their appointment. Many pediatric practices will also have toys of their own in the reception area that your child may be allowed to take with them into the treatment area.
7.) Prepare for Some Fussing
It’s completely normal for a young child to cry, whine, and wiggle when their teeth are being examined by a stranger. Stay calm and follow your dental team’s instructions. Remember, they’re used to working with children and have handled plenty of tantrums in the past.
These simple tips can go a long way in helping your little one feel more confident about hopping up into the dental examination chair. A smooth first dental appointment will set them up for a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles!
About the Author
Castle Rock Smiles Pediatric Dentistry focuses on providing personalized, compassionate, and effective dental care. As a certified Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Layne Benzley has specialized training in early childhood oral development and all the unique needs that come with caring for a growing smile. He and his team go above and beyond to make each dental visit as pleasant as possible for you and your child, and they would be happy to talk with you further on the best way to help your little one prepare for their first visit. Feel free to contact him via his website or at (303) 660-5373.