Visiting the dentist for the first time can be a scary experience for children. To help ease anxiety, you can help your child prepare for a dental visit by: brushing teeth regularly, checking your child’s mouth daily, reading books about dental care to your child, being patient and reassuring with your child, talking with your children about what to expect at dental check-ups, preparing your kids for short dental visits, informing your child of possible treatments.
Good dental habits are formed by creating a favorable dental experience for your child. You can do this by preparing your child for a dental visit. Here are helpful ways to get your children ready for a dental visit:
Regularly brush your child’s teeth
Get you child used to dental care by regularly brushing his teeth. Using of soft bristled brushed can remove plaque while stimulating your child’s gums. Use a mild toothpaste that is specifically formulated for young children.
Check your child’s mouth daily
Take time daily to check the inside of your child’s mouth. Talk to him about his teeth and count them. Make it a fun experience for him. Use a mirror to show him his teeth after a cleaning so he can appreciate how sparkling white they are.
Read books about dental care to your child
Several books about visiting the dentist are available. Two suggestions are 1) “Taryn Goes to the Dentist” by Jill Krementz (Crown Publishers Inc., 1986) and 2) The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist’ by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Random House, 1981).Pick some and them to your child prior to your first visit.
Be patient and reassure your child
Should your child show any anxiety or fear over dental check-ups, offer him some reassurance. Remain patient with him. Remember to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone. Holding your child on your lap during the visit might help too.
Talk to your children about dental check-ups
It is important to discuss possible treatments your children might have. They need to know what to expect. To maintain proper dental health, schedule routine check-up every six months.
Expose them to the dentist before their appointment
One way to do this is by having your child observe a family member having a simple cleaning and exam.
Then try playing dentist with the toddler. Switch roles and let him “count” your teeth and, if necessary, lay the child in your lap to see his teeth better.
Make the first visit to the dentist a simple one. Don’t wait until your child has a problem before taking them.