Did you know that you’re supposed to start taking your child to the dentist by the time they turn 1? Even though they might not have many teeth yet, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends getting them into a dentist’s chair right around their 1st birthday.
If your child is on the verge of turning 1 or just turned 1 recently, you should make them a dentist’s appointment now. You should also start preparing both yourself and your child for your child’s first dental visit.
Take a look at some tips and tricks that will make your child’s first dental visit a complete success below:
Kick Things Off by Finding the Right Dentist for Your Child
There are some dentists who specialize in providing services for both adults and children. If your dentist falls into this category and you like the services that they provide, you won’t have to spend a ton of time looking for a dentist for your child.
But if your current dentist doesn’t provide services for young children, look around for an experienced pediatric dentist in your area. They should have a reputation for providing great services at affordable prices.
Let Your Child Know About Their First Dentist Appointment Ahead of Time
Some parents wait until the very last second to let their kids know about their first dental visit. You should try to avoid taking this approach to your child’s first dental visit if you can avoid it.
Talk to your child about how they’re scheduled to go to the dentist soon once you’ve made an appointment for them. Explain to them what a dentist is and what they’re going to do during your child’s first dental visit.
This should help to put your child’s mind at ease. It might even get them excited about going to the dentist to have their teeth looked at.
Read Books About Going to the Dentist With Your Child
Since your child is going to be on the younger side when you take them to the dentist’s office for the first time, it might be a better idea to show them what a dentist does as opposed to telling them about it.
Do this by buying a few books about going to the dentist. It’ll give you an opportunity to show your child what’s in store for them at the dentist’s office.
In a perfect world, you’ll be able to find books featuring some of their favorite characters in them. They’ll be more likely to look forward to going to the dentist after seeing these characters getting their teeth looked at by a dentist in books.
Steer Clear of Saying Anything Negative About Going to the Dentist
Over the years, studies have shown that about 75% of Americans are scared of going to the dentist’s office to some degree. Some of these people are so scared of their dentist that they put off having dental exams done altogether.
If you’re scared of the dentist, that’s OK. It’s more normal than you might think. But you shouldn’t let your fear scare your child.
Steer clear of saying anything that could potentially come across as being negative when you’re talking about going to the dentist. If your child senses that you’re scared of the dentist, they’re going to be scared, too.
Bring Toys and Other Distractions Along to the Dentist’s Office
When you show up at a pediatric dentist’s office for your child’s first dental visit, you’re likely going to have to spend a few minutes in the waiting room. Keep your child occupied while you wait by bringing a few toys for them to play with.
The last thing you want to do is have your child get bored and misbehave in the waiting room. It could get their trip to the dentist’s office off to a terrible start and put them in a bad mood for their appointment.
Encourage Your Child Once They Sit Down in the Dentist’s Chair
Once your child gets into the dentist’s chair, their first dental visit could go one of two ways. They could listen carefully to their dentist’s instructions and do everything they’re asked—or they could refuse to cooperate at all and make their dentist’s job much harder than it should be.
You can play a role in making your child more cooperative by offering them encouragement from the second they sit down in the dentist’s chair. Cheer for them when they open up their mouths wide and let them know that they’re doing an amazing job throughout the duration of their appointment.
Reward Your Child for a Job Well Done at the Dentist’s Office
If your child’s first dental visit doesn’t go according to plan, you should skip any reward that you had planned and head right home after their appointment. You should also wait until they’ve cooled down and then talk to them about how their appointment went.
But if your child does great during their first dental visit, you should 100% reward them for it. Take them out for ice cream or another treat to show them how proud you are of them for doing a great job at the dentist’s office.
They’ll remember this the next time they’re scheduled to see their dentist. They’ll be more likely to be on their best behavior for that appointment, too.
Do Whatever It Takes to Make Your Child’s First Dental Visit a Great Experience
By the time a child is ready to start going to the dentist, they will have already seen their doctor a handful of times. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to be prepared for what awaits them at the dentist’s office.
Use the tips and tricks found here to make your child’s first dental visit as successful as it can be. It’s good to show your child how important it is to take good care of their teeth from a young age, and there’s no better way to do that than by making their first trip to the dentist a great one.
Check out the other articles on our blog for more tips and tricks on practicing good dental hygiene.