One of the most frequent questions asked by new parents is “when should I bring my baby for their first dentist appointment?” Well, this depends on the development of your baby. You should bring them to the dentist when they have their first tooth coming through or if they haven’t, you should visit before their first birthday. This may sound early, but starting at a young age to go to the dentist is much better than your child not going and then having to get lots of work done later down the line. The first time you take your child to the dentist is not just for them, but for you to learn how to take care of your children’s teeth and oral healthcare as well as giving your child the opportunity to get used to the dentist environment.
What To Expect
The first visit to the dentist can be a dreadful experience for some people, especially children, so it might be worth looking at a private dentist. It is so important though as it allows the dentist to see if everything is growing and developing in the right direction. The other thing that the dentist will check for is tongue ties, dental caries and any other signs of injuries. Information that the dentist will provide includes:
- Answer questions about dummies or thumb sucking.
- What foods and drinks cause the worst cavities.
- What toothpaste and toothbrush to use.
- Brushing and flossing techniques.
- How to relieve teething issues.
How To Prepare Your Child For The Dentist
Tour The Dentist
One of the best ways to help your child get used to the place is to take a tour of the dentist before the appointment. This will allow your child to get familiar with the dentist’s sounds and sights as this allows them time to speak to people and play in the waiting room toys and books to ensure they make it exciting.
Schedule Your Appointment Strategically
If your child is nervous, it is best to schedule the appointment strategically. This means that you should book a time where your child is typically happy such as after nap time, a meal or after they have done something fun. When children are tired or hungry, they are much less likely to do as they are told or behave well which can then turn negatively for the appointment.
Play Pretend Dentist At Home
The best way to get your children prepared for the dentist is to play pretend dentist at home. Doing this before visiting the dentist can help your child get used to the utensils etc. You can do this by simply getting them to sit down and then use their toothbrush to clean their teeth and explain why their oral health is so important. Once you have done this, you can swap roles and have them try the same on their favourite toy as this will allow your child to be engaged with the whole process so that they are not stressed when they go for their visit.
Bring Their Comfort Item
Whether this is a soft toy, a blanket or some other obscure item that they won’t let go of. Ensure that this is with them at all times if they are happy. Having their comforter acts as a way to help them get through the process and feel comfortable. Always bring a spare just in case one is not going to cover it.
If you are having a hard time finding a way in which your child will go to the dentist, then you could always offer them an award for when they are good. This gets them excited for something new which means they could act extra well behaved. This could be anything from ice cream, a new toy or a trip to the playground, they will all spark interest from your child. Which will, in turn, help the dentist appointment go much more smoothly.
Using these simple tips will ensure that you and your child have a smooth first dental appointment. Amongst these simple tips, you should always make it sound exciting and get them excited, you should not be showing your child the drawbacks or show that you are nervous, because let’s face it, nobody likes the dentist. By doing this, you will show your child there is nothing to be afraid of.