Your Toddler’s First Dentist Visit
When a child is two or three years old, he will need to visit the dentist for the first time. Visiting the dentist does not have to be a fearful, tear-filled event. If you prepare your child for that first visit, you will increase the likelihood that things will go smoothly. Here are six tips to help prepare your child for his first dental visit.
1. Regularly care for your child’s teeth.
Get your child used to the fact that his teeth need attention just like any other body part. Even if your child balks, he must brush his teeth at least twice a day. Let him see you caring for your teeth, and buy him a special toothbrush and toothpaste.
2. Choose a good dentist.
Pediatric dentists are specially trained to take care of kids’ teeth. Their offices are generally a bit more inviting for small children. However, don’t get too hung up on labels. A kind, personable, and knowledgeable family dentist will be just as good as a pediatric dentist.
3. Let your child go with you to the dentist.
Allow another trusted adult accompany you and your child to the dentist for a routine visit. This will get him used to the fact that it’s okay to let the dentist look in his mouth.
4. Prepare for the big day.
There are many children’s books that discuss visiting the dentist. You should read them to your child in the days before your his appointment. Additionally, you may want to see if you and your child can tour the dentist office the week before the appointment. He will be able to meet the dentist and familiarize himself with the office. Mark the date on the calendar, and count down to the big day.
5. Keep things positive.
Master your own temptation to worry about this appointment. Kids are very perceptive, and they will pick up on your tension. Don’t allow anyone, including older siblings, to communicate that visiting the dentist is anything to worry about.
6. Plan for success.
The day of the appointment, allow plenty of time to get to the appointment. Plan for a time of day when your child is at his best. Go into the appointment with a positive attitude.
Don’t put off this important appointment due to fear of your child’s reactions. When you prepare your child for visiting the dentist, you increase the likelihood that things will go smoothly.