According to experts, your child should have their first dental visit as soon as their first tooth appears. However, it usually does not happen at that time for most kids. Also, if they visit the dentist at such an early age, they are generally unaware of what is happening. But if your child visits the dentist at an early age, they adjust quickly to the environment and the clinic which is beneficial in the long-run.
What happens if your child has never been to the dentist until they are three years old? A dentist's visit can be nerve-wracking for many adults, so one can imagine how it is for a child. While it may be the case, you can take steps to ensure that your child is relaxed through the entire process. The main component of this is preparation.
The dentist you choose will play a big part in your child's experience. Hence, you must select an excellent pediatric dentist who knows how to work with kids. To do so, start by asking for recommendations from your family and friends. You can also ask your primary doctor for a referral.
Once you have found a few good options, visit their offices. Visiting the office will give you a clear picture of what to expect. You will want to evaluate the environment and whether it is a good place for your child. From how they set up the waiting room to the doctor's personality, ensure your child will enjoy the place.
The next step is helping your child prepare mentally to see the dentist. The first step to helping your child prepare mentally is talking to them about what to expect. Children can pick up on subtle cues when you are telling them something. If you have a fear of dentists yourself, you must prepare yourself first. You do not want to pass on your anxiety to your child, especially on your first visit.
The next step is to help your child understand what will happen at the dentist's place. The best way that children learn is through role play. You can get them a teddy bear or a doll and play dentistry with them.
You can pretend to check the doll's teeth, brush them, and floss them. Then you can also tell your child to do the same to you and the doll. Doing this makes your visit to the dentist feel more relaxed and fun.
Another way to help your child understand what goes on at the dentist is through fun educational material. You can get a cartoon with that kind of storyline, like “Dentist Trip – Peppa Pig” or “Show Me Your Smile! A Visit to the Dentist – Dora The Explorer.” You can also read your child a fun book like “The Tooth Book” by Dr. Seuss.
On the day of the appointment, bring your child's favorite toy. While you may have prepared well, there is always the chance that things can get tense. Bringing your child's favorite toy will help them stay calm throughout.
For more on preparing your child for their first dental visit, visit Pediatric Dental Group at our office in Honolulu or Lihue, Hawaii. Call (808) 593-8828 (Honolulu) or (808) 245-2131 (Lihue) to book an appointment today.