Without proper preparation, your little one’s first trip to the dentist may end in tears, screams, squirms and mayhem. The best strategy in easing your child in and through this experience is to take the time beforehand to prepare them for the visit. Never rush your child into something they are afraid to do – take the time to alleviate their fears.
Here are some ideas to best prepare your child for their dental visit:
- Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy
The best way to prevent a stressful check-up is to begin healthy dental care early and eliminate the risks for oral issues such as gingivitis or cavities. This will ensure that the visit is quick without the need for extensive and invasive procedures the next time they visit.
- Stay Positive
Try not to create a negative perception about the dentist – don’t relay your own dislikes of oral care and do not threaten your child with the dentist if they do not brush their teeth. Highlight the positive aspects of dental care, such as how the dentist helps them to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Talk about how the dentist is friendly and fun. Try to create a positive attitude toward the dentist before your child even meets them.
There are some amazing books focused on easing fears about going to the dentist. To make a larger impact on your child, try to find a book featuring their favorite character. They will be better to identify with the story and the character overcoming their own fears. Mum’s Grapevine (http://mumsgrapevine.com.au/2016/02/books-about-going-to-the-dentist/) lists some books about going to the dentist featuring characters such as Peppa Pig, Dora, Curious George, Little Critter and others!
- Be Sensitive
Do not disregard their fears as silly or nonsense – they have every reason to be afraid of the unknown! Acknowledge these fears and help them to find ways to work around them. Perhaps bringing a favorite animal will help to keep them or calm or maybe watching you have a check-up first will show them that there is nothing to be afraid of.
- Choose the Right Dentist
A suitable dentist for your child will understand the need to ease them into a check-up. They will allow your child the time to explore the office, check out the tools being used and ask questions. They will be friendly and open to your children and do their best to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
Taking the time to prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist is going to alleviate undue stress and make the entire experience a positive one. Dental care is monumentally important, so establishing a healthy routine of brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist while your children are young will ensure that they continue these healthy habits throughout their lives.