A child’s first dentist appointment is an important event. While young children typically don’t have severe plaque or gum disease, taking them to the dentist before their first tooth erupts or before they turn 1 year old helps familiarize them with the environment.
Then, when they are 2 or 3 years old, they will be better prepared for when the dentist performs a quick examination to see if teeth are coming in properly, check for decay, check for bite problems and possibly perform X-rays.
This first visit and meeting many new people in a medical setting can be a stressful event for a young child. Luckily, you can take a few steps to make the visit less frightening and help your child become familiar with the dentist.
Making Dentist Appointments Positive and Fun
Here are the top six ways to introduce your child to the dentist:
- Bring your child along: One way children learn is by observing you. If you bring your child to your dentist appointments and they see how well you handle it, they are less likely to believe it is a scary place.
- Do an office tour: Before the appointment, ask your dentist’s office for a tour so your child can see the office and exam room in more detail. This also allows them to meet the staff, hygienists and dentists in a low-pressure environment.
- Search for books and TV shows: You can help create a positive attitude about the dentist by reading your child stories about their favorite characters going to the dentist. You can also find dentist-related shows that your child can watch.
- Play pretend: A child may become more interested in and excited about their first visit if they do some role-playing. You can take turns playing pretend — sometimes your child can be the dentist, and other times they can be the patient. You can incorporate items around your house that mimic dental tools to make it more realistic. Your child can also perform “cleanings” and “dental exams” on a favorite doll or stuffed animal.
- Be positive: Leading up to and on the day of your child’s visit, make sure you are staying positive. Your child will feed off of any stress or anxiety you are displaying. Instead, stay calm and focus on the positives when talking about the visit with your child. You can even plan a fun reward for them once the visit is over.
- Let them be involved: A child will feel less overwhelmed if they have the chance to control some aspects of their visit. Let them choose their toothpaste flavor and whether they want to sit on your lap during the exam. You can also get them more involved by letting them do things like put on their own bib.
Schedule Your Child’s First Visit at Dental Choice
If you’re ready to schedule a children’s dentistry appointment in Edmonton or Calgary, contact Dental Choice. We look forward to helping create a positive first impression and helping your child develop healthy dental habits. To schedule your child’s first appointment, fill out our online form and we will get back to you shortly.