How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Dental Visit
Make your child’s first dental visit a breeze
Your child’s first dental visit should be within 6 months of their first tooth coming in or by the time they turn 12 months at the latest. If your child is approaching that age, then it’s time to plan for your child’s first dental visit!
How to Get Your Child Ready for the Dentist
We know how highly anticipated this is, and that you want this to be as stress-free as possible as a parent. The best way to reduce the stress around this is to get yourself and your child ready beforehand. Below are 10 tips to help you prepare.
1. Schedule your visit at the ideal time of day.
Determine what time of day your child is most alert and agreeable. Many parents like to schedule morning appointments so young children are energetic and fresh. If your child is tired and needs a nap, they may not cooperate.
2. Tell them what to expect
Explain to your child why they need to go to the dentist and what they should expect. Talk through the tools that their dentist will use and what sensations they may feel. Tell them that even though something may tickle or even be uncomfortable at the dentist, it’s good for them. This will build excitement and understanding.
3. Manage your own anxiety
Do you have dentist anxiety yourself? Be sure not to project that upon your child, and keep it in check. Children can pick up their parents’ anxieties and become anxious themselves. It’s your job to be emotional support for your child.
4. Tell the dentist about any anxieties your child may have
If your child tends to be stubborn, defiant, anxious, or fearful, let the dental team know.
5. Decide if you will accompany your child
Depending on what age your child is, you may choose to go into the room with them. Usually, parents accompany their children up to 24 months.
6. Have the right materials at home
If your child is old enough, you can practice parts of the cleaning they will experience, like brushing and flossing. Make it fun for both of you! Find a flavored toothpaste that they like. Dance or sing while you make sure that they brush for long enough.
7. Encourage good dental habits
The better your child’s dental hygiene is already, the smoother the visit will be. Starting when they’re infants, clean their mouths and gums regularly with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Between 12-18 months, start a brushing routine with non-fluoridated toothpaste.
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