Ideally, a child has been to the dentist by their first birthday. So, when your child is old enough to start asking questions about the dentist, they should already have a connection with the dentist. But this is not always the case. Sometimes, there are circumstances where children do not go to the dentist for their first visit until they are older.
This late introduction to the dentist can cause them to be fearful. They may have heard stories or negative comments that have made them anxious about seeing a dentist. Of course, your child has (hopefully) also heard others talk positively about dentist visits. Regardless of the scenario, there are ways to alleviate fears and satisfy curiosity, so your child’s dentist visit is a great experience.
Making Your Child’s First Dentist Visit Positive
- Contact the chosen office and see if a preliminary visit may be scheduled. At this visit, your child may be shown the office, meet the hygienist, ask questions, and meet the dentist. This is a great way to ease fears or concerns, so they are better prepared for their visit. This is also an excellent time to address special needs or concerns regarding your child’s oral health.
- At the preliminary appointment, allow your child to take a stuffed animal or doll the dentist can use to model what will happen. Seeing how a visit will go often lets your child feel confident about their upcoming visit.
- Schedule your child’s appointment for as early in the day as possible. This keeps them from worrying about the visit all day. It is also less likely to disrupt their routine.
- Read books to your child about the dentist. There are many great ones to choose from. You will also find many helpful videos on YouTube that will introduce your child to the dentist.
- Be positive. If your child senses your fear, they will often react to that emotion. Be intentional in making the dental experiences you share upbeat and encouraging.
- Play dentist at home. If your child enjoys roleplay, consider getting a lab coat, a small mirror, and a toothbrush and pretending to be the dentist. The patient may be your child, or you can use a stuffed animal to demonstrate how a dental visit will go.
- Take your child to your dentist visit, and let them observe a cleaning, x-rays, and other parts of the visit. Seeing you at ease will help them relax when it’s their turn.
- Offer a reward. Most dentists who see children have a prize box with stickers, small toys, games, etc., to choose from at the end of their appointment. For many kids, this is a great treat. But if your child is especially fearful, consider a special treat. Planning time at the park, an extra story at bedtime, or some other treat will make the dentist visit less overwhelming.
- Choose a dentist close to home. This is extra helpful if your child doesn’t like to travel long distances, but it also minimizes the time they can worry about the appointment before getting there. In the Shiremanstown, PA area, visit Raver Family Dental.
Taking your child to the dentist for the first time doesn’t have to be scary. Planning for the visit and doing your part to make your child’s appointment is important. If you have any questions or would like some insight into making your child’s visit better, be sure to reach out to Raver Family Dental. We are here to help.