Before you know it, it will be time for your child’s first dentist appointment. In order to make their first visit a success, here are some helpful tips.
When should children first visit the dentist?
The ADA recommends that young children visit the dentist when their first tooth breaks or by their first birthday. Pediatric dentistry is important to help make sure that the teeth are developing properly. Procedures done when children are younger can often prevent more invasive procedures when they are older.
Preparing for that First Visit
Parent’s are encouraged to introduce positive oral habits to their children from an early age. The simple act of building your nightly oral hygiene routine into their routine can establish the importance from a very early age.
Avoid phrases like, “uh oh, somebody has to go to the dentist,” even in a joking way because it can set a negative connotation in the child’s brain. Similarly, when it is time for the first appointment, it is helpful to let them know in advance, and not spring it on them at the last minute or as a surprise. This gives them time to get used to the idea. It can also be helpful to bring your child with you to the dentist when they do not have an appointment, so they are able to get used to the office without having an exam on their own.
It is also helpful to make it fun! There are many children’s books available that can introduce the idea of a dentist in a fun way. After reading the book together, it can be fun to play dentist by taking turns looking at each other’s teeth. Perhaps their favorite Barbie, stuffed animal or action figure can also get a dental exam so you can show them how easy it is.
Taking the time to make your child comfortable and happy with their first appointment can help them for years to come.