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Seeing the dentist can be intimidating and a little scary for anyone. Even adults get nervous before their scheduled dental visit. So it definitely makes sense to take some time to ease your little one’s mind about getting a checkup. Take some tips from these simple ways to prepare your child for their first dental visit.
Try to demonstrate a positive attitude when talking to your child about the dentist, even if you have a dental phobia. Staying upbeat can be contagious. Your little one will be less anxious if you manage to keep fear and anxiety at bay as the day of the appointment approaches. Just talk to them about what to expect. Remind them that the appointment is coming. Treat dental appointments as a regular and expected part of life so that your child doesn’t unnecessarily develop their own dental phobia. It’s a smart idea to bring a favorite comfort item such as a stuffed animal, blanket, or doll along on the visit. This can provide peace of mind and familiarity in a new, scary place.
Introduce the Dentist as a Friendly Figure
Again, it’s important to reiterate that you don’t want to present your child with any negativity around the idea of going to the dentist. Instead, portray dental professionals as helpers or positive figures who are there to make sure your family’s teeth stay healthy. You’ll want to find the best dentist in your area, for instance, you might search for the best dentist in Cary NC or your particular locale. Your dentist should have experience working with children of all ages, and they should come across as approachable. No child will feel comfortable seeing a dentist who is gruff or never smiles.
Bring Your Baby Along
It could be helpful to bring your baby along to your own dental visit. Being able to see a parent receive an exam can help to dispel some of a child’s fear. If you have older kids, tagging along to a sibling’s visit might be an even better idea, especially if your child will be seeing that same pediatric dentist.
Choose the Right Time
When scheduling your child’s dentist appointment, be sure to choose the appointment time strategically. Most wee ones have certain periods of the day when they are most content and alert. Aim for that time; skip cranky periods during regular naps or before meals. Show up to the appointment early so that your baby can get used to the surroundings.
One of the best ways to prepare for your child’s first dental visit is to start them out early. Dental professionals recommend scheduling a dental exam as soon as their first tooth arrives, typically by their first birthday. Such an early start allows the dentist to assess your child’s dental health and progress from the beginning.
Practice at Home
You can get your baby ready for that first dental visit by practicing at home. Take time to examine your child’s mouth for tooth eruptions or changes. You can do this easily by sitting knee to knee with another adult and laying the child in your partner’s lap so that you can peer into your baby’s mouth. You’ll also want to expose your baby to the feeling of having their teeth cleaned. If no teeth have arrived, just use a damp cloth to wipe the gums. You can also try a small soft toothbrush to prepare them.
Keep these simple tips in mind when preparing your child for their first dental visit. With some care and sensitivity, your little one can become used to dental visits and avoid developing any unnecessary fears.