How To Prepare for My Child’s First Dental Visit?

Many things can be scary for your child: staying home alone, sleeping without a nightlight, and their first day of school, but going to the dentist shouldn’t be one.

As an adult, you’ve probably made your peace with going to the dentist, and eventually, your child can get there, too.

Here are a few helpful tips to take the scariness of your child’s first dental visit. If you implement these tips into your visit, your child might even begin to look forward to seeing the dentist.

Tips to Prepare Your Child for The First Dental Visit

It’s important to be preemptive when your child is going to their first dental visit. Patience and planning will get you the best results.

Be Positive

Start with positivity. Children are more intuitive than we give them credit for. If you’re nervous and negative, they might pick up on that and become nervous themselves. It’s your job to model the idea that everything will be alright when you go to the dentist.

You should start your day with a smile and tell your child that their trip to the dentist will be a lot of fun!

Bring Toys

Isn’t it so much easier to forget your worries when you’re engrossed in something? Well, the same goes for your child.

You should bring some of their favourite toys (or even a new one) with you to help you keep them distracted. In addition to keeping your child busy, playing with a familiar toy can help soothe any anxiety they might be feeling. Bringing a few toys for them to choose from will also help them associate the dentist with positive things later.

If your child already has a favourite stuffed animal or something similar, bringing it with you on your trip to the dentist is a great idea.

Offer Rewards

There’s nothing wrong with rewarding your child for being brave at the dentist. Their rewards don’t have to be particularly extravagant. You could promise them things like:

  • Checking out that new movie they’ve wanted to see
  • A trip to the zoo
  • You’ll cook their favourite meal later that day. Spaghetti night, anyone?

Be Patient and Don’t Force Things

One of the worst things you can do before your child’s first dental visit is lose your cool. Your child is looking to you for confirmation that everything will be okay once they’re in the chair.

It can be very frustrating if your child is seemingly endlessly yelling, screaming or crying. When this happens, crouch down so you can look them in the eyes. You should say something along the lines of, “It’s going to be okay, sweetie. You’re very brave, and I know you’ll be okay at the dentist.

Remember to be empathetic and kind.

You should avoid threatening language like “You better be good or else”. And you certainly don’t want to invalidate their feelings by saying things like “It’s not a big deal” or “what are you crying for?”.

Adopt a Positive Attitude Towards Dental Visits

Going forward, you need to have a positive outlook on dental visits, at least in front of your child. Don’t bash or groan about your own dental visits when they come around, and always make a point to say things like, “We get to go to the dentist soon; he’s going to tell us we did a good job taking care of our teeth!”

Try to remind your child that the dentist is an opportunity to have fun!

Choose Your Dentist Carefully

We’ve gone through some helpful tips, but this last one is probably the most important. While you can spend all the time in the world reassuring your child that the dentist is a fun and safe place to go, an unsympathetic dentist can ruin all of your hard work.

There is nothing scarier to a child than a dentist that doesn’t tell your child what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, and your dentist should be kind and patient. It’s convenient to go to the family dentist, but it’s worth the trip to a gentle pediatric dentist.

Prepare Early and Be Kind

The key to ensuring that your child has a seamless first dentist appointment is to keep an open ear about their fears and be ready to reassure them. It’s okay to enlist the help of their favourite toy, food, or movie to make the process easier.

Contact us today to book your child for their first, and not the least bit scary, dental visit.

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