Dental visits are a lifetime commitment to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, and the first experience with the dentist is the most important step for your children. Here are some tips for how to prepare your children for the initial appointment with the dentist.
Keep It Positive
Unfortunately, many parents instill anxiety and discomfort to their children because they do not enjoy going to the dentist or have unpleasant experiences. Kids are very perceptive, so sometimes you need to set aside your own fears and concerns about going to the dentist in order to set your child up for successful oral care. Be sure to emphasize how going to the dentist creates a beautiful smile that makes other people smile.
Engage in the Process
Teaching your children good oral hygiene at home is important. When you are teaching your children how to brush and floss, engage with them during that time. Make it a special occasion that is shared between you and your kids. Demonstrate how to properly brush and floss and describe the benefits in a playful and fun manner.
Many children become fearful of the dentist because they don’t know what to expect or the procedures are not as fun as they anticipated. Be honest with your child about what a dental exam feels like and what the dentist will describe during the exam. Make sure that your child understands the language that is used, such as teeth, roots, and gums, by showing them these parts of their mouths before the appointment.
Choose a Kid-Friendly Oral Health Provider
Any dentist can provide dental exams to children, but you should look for one that specializes in children’s dentistry. This includes not only the dentist’s experience with pediatric dental care but also how the needs of younger patients are incorporated into the practice. Some questions to ask when choosing a dentist for your kids are:
- What percent of their patients are children or teenagers?
- Do the hygienists, dentist and other staff use an approach that enhances the experience for kids?
- Is the practice designed with children in mind?
By keeping these questions in mind, you will find the best dentist for your kids, and the first visit with the dentist will lay the foundation for a positive perspective in dental care that will last a lifetime.