Children’s dentistry is an important part of lifelong good dental health. Your child’s first visit doesn’t have to be scary.
Here are some steps you can take to send the message that this bi-annual ritual is nothing to fear.
- Familiarize your child with what a dentist is and what she or he does by reading books about the dentist. The Berenstain Bears have an excellent book to help kids learn about the dentist.
- Play dentist. You child is probably used to you looking in his or her mouth, but you can turn the tables and let them see into your mouth. This is will give them a realistic idea about what will happen at the dentist.
- Answer any question but don’t elaborate. Kids can sometimes ask great questions but are not always ready for the an adult-sized question. Keep your answers short and age appropriate. You’ll definitely want to stay away from stories about bad experiences and avoid scary words like “pain” or “shot”.
- Call and schedule a “happy visit,” where we schedule time specifically to introduce the child to the dental chair.
- Make it a rite of passage. Take a photo of your child so celebrate the big first time and share it with loved ones so they can get praise for being such a good patient.
- Don’t bribe them. This will give even the smallest child the message that what they are about to experience is not fun. There is no harm in bringing something novel to help pass the time in the waiting room but this is a great time to pass on the message that good dental health is its own reward.
Good luck and good dental health!