THERE AREN’T MANY things we love more than the smile of a child. It’s important to keep that smile healthy, and regular visits to the dentist are a crucial part of that. If your child hasn’t been to the dentist before, we want to give you and them a good idea of what their first checkup will be like. First impressions are important, and a good first experience with the dentist is the beginning of a lifetime of good dental health decisions and habits!
Dental Anxiety: Not Just For Adults
One in three American adults struggles with dental anxiety severe enough that they avoid going to the dentist, but it doesn’t only affect adults. New things can be scary for young children, and an older family member might have already poisoned the well for them by describing their own unpleasant dentist experiences. They could even pick up on negative feelings Mom or Dad has about the dentist without being told explicitly.
Helping Your Child Have a Positive Perspective on Dentists
There’s a lot a parent can do to help their child meet the dentist feeling positive and relaxed, and we can take things from there!
- Get started early. A child can benefit from a dental visit as soon as their first tooth appears. The early start also helps build a trusting relationship with the dentist.
- For very young children, play pretend to explain what will happen. You can play the part of the dentist and show them that it can be fun and interesting, not scary.
- If the children are old enough, you can simply explain. Don’t make the dentist a mystery; children are happier when they understand what’s going on. A quick explanation of dental visits and why they matter will go a long way.
- Teach the importance of dental hygiene. Kids who know how important brushing and flossing are to the health of their smiles are better able to appreciate the dentist.
- Meet the dentist beforehand! A great way to make the first appointment less stressful is for the dentist not to be a stranger during that appointment. We’re happy to schedule an advance meet-and-greet.
- Be there to reassure your child. Information is no substitute for the presence of a loved and trusted adult. Stay close by to offer plenty of support and encouragement in early visits.
We Look Forward to Meeting Your Child!
It’s so important for a child’s first experience with a dentist to be a good one. If you’d like more ideas for how to help your child avoid dental anxiety and the problems that come with it, or if you simply have questions about their dental care, don’t hesitate to get in touch.