Your child's first trip to the dentist can be filled with anxiety and fear. Dental check-ups are recommended every six months and you do not want to be pulling them in kicking and screaming over and over again. Here are a few tips for getting your child ready for their first visit to the dentist and setting them up to have a great relationship with healthy teeth.
Read Books About Going to the Dentist
Going to the dentist is a notable first in children's lives. There have been lots of kid's books that talk about this event and what they can expect to happen. Anxiety and fear can come from the unknown of a new experience. Helping them hear stories of other kids' or characters' trips to the dentist can really help calm their nerves. You can head to your local library to find a few books that explain all the details. Try finding stories about kid's first visits or books that explain the different tools and equipment they will see when they go in for their appointment.
Make the Dentist a Special Occasion
Bribing your child can work sometimes, but it can have consequences for the future. Try making the day a special occasion and plan to spend the afternoon with your child doing something fun. It doesn't need to be seen as a bribe and your kid can look forward to this quality time. Consider grabbing lunch after the appointment or stopping for ice cream together on the way home. This can be a great time to talk about the experience they had and address any questions or concerns. The more they talk openly about things that cause them anxiety the better you can help them work through it.
Try a Pediatric Dentist
You can look for a dentist in your area that has an office that is geared towards children. Bright murals or artwork, or TV screens ready to play favorite children's shows, can help ease your child into their appointment. Some offices will have small rewards after their exams and this can help children learn to be excited about the process. If the dentist regularly sees children they will have some great techniques up their sleeves to calm and distract a worried child.
Taking your child to the dentist doesn't need to feel like you're the adult pulling teeth! Start talking about this upcoming experience and get your child ready for their first visit.