You’ve probably heard the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And it’s true: The people and environment around us play an essential role in our upbringing. But what about dental care? It impacts your child’s oral health as well as their self-confidence.
Here are some tips for preparing your children for their first dental appointment so they can get the most out of it and leave with a smile on their faces.
Find out which dentist your kids are going to see
You will want to find out ahead of time who will perform the first dental appointment and go and visit that particular dentist’s office if possible. This way, your children will be more familiar with the doctor’s name and face when they finally visit for their routine visit.
For teens or pre-teens, you can let them ask around among their friends for suggestions of a good oral surgeon in the area, so they have a sense of control over the choice. They likely have a friend who already has had dental appointments or has met an orthodontist, and the friend provides them with a good anecdote.
When creating this connection between your child and the dentist, you are setting up an oral health care plan that both of you can follow for years to come.
Schedule the appointment for a time when you can be there with them
It is essential to schedule a dental appointment to be there with your children. This will help them feel more comfortable and relaxed during their visit.
You may also want to consider bringing along a friend or family member to provide additional support. An extra pair of caring arms can come in handy if your child gets nervous or becomes anxious.
And if you can’t be there in person, many dentists offer the option of a video consultation so you can still be part of the appointment.
Prepare your child by talking about what will happen
It’s essential to prepare your child for their first dentist appointment. You can tell them what will happen before they go to the dentist by talking about it. For example, you can say that people will ask questions, and they may have to open their mouths wide so the doctor can look inside.
By talking to your child about what to expect, you can ease their fears and create an atmosphere of support for them.
Don’t forget to give your child the opportunity to ask questions. It’s vital for children to feel like they have control over their bodies, so allow them to ask questions about their upcoming visit. They may be wondering if they will need special equipment or feel pain.
You can also take the opportunity to share some humorous stories from your visits or read some fun books about dentists and what they do. This will make them less nervous about their appointment and feel like it’s something that other people also experience.
Practice brushing teeth together
Brushing teeth together is crucial because it helps children learn how to brush their teeth correctly. It also allows parents to inspect their child’s teeth for any problems.
In addition, it can help children feel more comfortable when they visit the dentist. They will know what to expect and how the appointment will work.
If your child has a favorite character or story, you can brush their teeth with a toothbrush that has that character on it. This will make brushing time more enjoyable for them.
Bring along their favorite stuffed animal or another comfort item
Bringing a favorite stuffed animal can be an effective way to help your children feel more at ease. Your child may want to bring their favorite toy with them or a blanket if they’re a bit too young to take the toy themselves.
This will make the experience less scary for them, and they will be able to focus on what the dentist is doing. Also, it will help the child to feel like they are in control of some aspect of their visit.
This is especially helpful for younger children, but you can use it with older children as well. You could give your child a choice to bring their favorite toy or something else that makes them feel relaxed.
Ask questions so they feel like they have some control over what’s happening
You can ask your child some questions to make them feel like they have some control. Ask them if they want to sit in the dentist’s chair or see what the doctor is doing. Ask about what they think the dentist will do in certain situations.
This tells your child that you respect their feelings and opinions, and it allows them to become more involved in their care, making them feel safer and less nervous.
You can also ask them to tell you about their favorite book or toy. This will help to distract them from what is happening and make the experience more enjoyable for them.
Give praise after each step is completed
It’s important to praise kids after each step because it makes them feel good and happy. When you do this, they will know that they did a good job.
Be Well-Prepared for Your Kid’s Big Appointment
Whether they’re a toddler who needs guidance on how to brush, or a pre-teen with anxiety about visiting the dentist, there are ways for parents and caregivers alike to help them feel more at ease before going in. Remember: this is a learning opportunity!
Soon, your child will be brushing their teeth and caring for them on their own.