Making Your Child's First Dentist Visit Easy
Few things can cause as much stress and anxiety for both a small child and mother as going to visit the doctor, and a dentist visit is no different. Fortunately, your child’s first visit to the dentist doesn’t need to cause you anxiety or stress! Like many things in life, being prepared can smooth over most of the potential problems before they even begin, and this is especially true when preparing your child for their first dentist visit.
When to Take Your Child for Their First Visit to the Dentist
An often-asked question is “when should I take my child for their first dentist visit?” Good question! Your child’s first visit should occur within six months of their first tooth erupting or within 6 months of their first birthday, but even if your child is older than this now, it’s never too late to bring them in. A well-trained pediatric dentist will be able to check and identify any potential problems with your child’s soft palate and jaw development. This early identification can help you keep your child’s mouth healthy for years to come.
If you’ve noticed that your child’s teeth have started to erupt you can start your child’s dental health habits early, even before you take them for their first dental visit. Start brushing your child’s new teeth with a baby-safe toothbrush and plain water – be consistent and habitually brush their teeth every day. This will help your child lay the foundation of life-long oral health.
Take the Mystery Out of the Dentist’s Office
A big part of what causes dentist fears for small children is the unknown: where’s it going to be, what’s going to happen, is it going to hurt, and who are these people looking in my mouth? An excellent way to stop that fear in its tracks is to take away the fear of the unknown, by making it known: talk to your pediatric dentist about what will happen during the visit and explain it to your child.
Taking the mystery out of the visit also entails talking and preparing your child at home before the appointment. Show them Youtube videos about dentist visits, explain the Tooth Fairy and how she only comes for healthy teeth, and get them excited about doing healthy things for their teeth. When your child is excited to visit the dentist, there will be no stress or anxiety.
Here are great books we recommend to read to your child that can help prepare them for their first dental visit:
- Show Me Your Smile! (Dora the Explorer)
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist
- Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter)
Stay Prepared on the Day
Remember to do what you can to make your child feel at home during the first visit. Bring their favorite stuffed animal or game to the appointment and plan a fun activity for after to make sure they’re confident and excited about the day.
Remember your own attitude and behavior – your child will look to you to know how to act and feel. If you remember to stay calm and excited, your child will react accordingly. Staying by your child as they have their procedure done will also help to keep them calm and soothed when they’re being examined for the first time. A smile and a held hand can go a long way to helping your child stay happy and having fun at the dentist’s office.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Visit Today
To make sure that your child’s first dentist visit is fun, comfortable, and educational contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry today for an appointment. Call us at 919-967-2773 or request an appointment via our form.