According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children and teens should see a dentist twice a year for an exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment, and occasional x-rays, to ensure that they are cavity-free and have no other problems that are present. However, the younger a child is, the scarier a visit to the dentist can seem. This is especially true if it is their first visit. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help your little one prepare.
1. Demonstrate Positivity
Children are more perceptive than you may think, and they can pick up on anxiety if you are feeling nervous about their first visit. This can make them feel more anxious and scared about going. Even if you don’t like going to the dentist yourself, you should demonstrate positivity for the sake of your child to ensure them that, while it may not be the most fun thing in the world, it is nothing to be afraid of.
2. Talk To Them About What To Expect
Sit down with your child and talk to them about what they can expect during their first dentist visit. Encourage them to ask questions so that they can feel more secure and safe about going. You should emphasize the positives and stay away from mentioning things about cavities, drilling, or needles.
3. Use Their Favorite Characters
Many children’s characters, especially in TV shows, have dentist episodes to help explain to kids why going to the dentist is important. If your child has a favorite cartoon character, you should try to find things that show them going to the dentist and having a good experience. If you can’t find this, you can always read books about dentists geared towards children to help them feel better about their upcoming visit.
4. Bring a Favorite Toy
Lastly, on the day of their visit, you should encourage them to bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal with them. Being able to hold this during the visit can help keep them calm and give them something else to focus on. If you forget your child’s toy, many pediatric dentists have toys and stuffies in their offices for children who want something to hold on to. They may also have TVs set up in the rooms so that kids can watch cartoons during their appointment.
If your child is getting ready for their first dentist visit, keep these tips in mind so that they can have the best experience possible and learn that there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to seeing their dentist.