How to prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist
In general, children are not so happy when comes the time to go to the dentist. Some will pout while others are downright terrified. To make the encounter go smoothly, it is better to choose an experienced dentist who is used to having children among their clientele. That being said, parents can also use some tips to make this experience more enjoyable.
How to plan the first visit
A child’s first visit to the dentist can be a stressful event. Usually, the first visit should be when the child is about three years old. At this age, all primary teeth should be removed, the condition of the child’s dentition can be assessed and appropriate recommendations can be made. It is best to book appointments for a toddler in the morning, when they are receptive and energized. If necessary, bring an object to comfort your child during the visit (cuddly toy, teddy bear, etc.). You can also show your child some photos of the dental clinic in advance so they can be more familiar with the place. When you or your spouse has an appointment with the dentist or orthodontist, do not hesitate to take your child with you so they can get used to this new environment.
Popularize the dentist to reassure the child
Avoid talking to the child about needles or pain. Be as reassuring as possible. Use simple words to explain their first appointment with the dentist, without revealing what might scare them prematurely. Speak warmly when you share your own experience with them. You can compare the dentist to a friend, a person you trust who helps you be healthy. You can also rely on books featuring your child’s favourite characters. Several children’s toys simulate a first experience at the dentist’s office. The fact that your child’s favourite character is already going to the dentist might reassure them. Above all, communicate with the dentist, so that you both use a common language to reassure your child. Some children are simply afraid of the unknown!
Humanize the dentist
It is essential for the child to be aware of the important role the dentist will have in their life. In order to maintain good dental hygiene, dental professionals advise booking appointments once or twice a year. In order for the child to be comfortable, you can even get them to meet your dentist before the first appointment. If that’s not possible, show them a photo of the dentist on the web! To combine practicality and fun, turn the world of dentistry into a game for your child before their appointment at the dental clinic, so that they become familiar with the requests the dentist will make when they get their teeth checked.
With this little guide, you now know how to reassure your child through their first meeting with a dentist. Remember that you can facilitate this process. At DentisteALaval.com, our pediatric dentists are used to receiving children for their first visit. Our dental professionals know how to make this experience educational, friendly and respectful.