5 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit
By : Abby Ruiz
As a parent, there are a lot of exciting “firsts” that you experience with your child. From first steps, to first words, to first tooth, the list goes on. Another first that can be a huge deal is taking your child to the dentist for the first time. It is important to start the habit of taking your child to the dental office as soon as their first tooth comes in to help familiarize them with the office and to monitor their oral health conditions. Typically, adults who have had earlier exposure to oral care at an early age see it as a routine part of life. However, in the eyes of a child who has never met one, a dentist can be quite intimidating. As your Mississauga family dentist, we feel that it is important to make every child’s first visit a great experience so they feel at home.
Here are some tips that can help you prepare your children for their first dental visit:
- Remain Positive
Children often mirror our behaviour so promoting a positive attitude about oral hygiene will allow children to be more enthusiastic about it. Children love to learn about their bodies and the things they can do. For younger children, having them simply identifying where their teeth and tongue are will help bring awareness to that part of their body. You may also want to explain the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy.
- Use Encouraging Words
Using positive and encouraging words will help your child feel at ease. If you have any fears of the dentist yourself, it is best not to relay those fears to your child. Children can quickly pick up on their parent’s anxieties, which tend to make them feel anxious too. Using phrases like “we will show the dentist what a great job you do when you brush” or “the dentist will count your teeth” will make them feel more comfortable with opening their mouths and showing the dentist their teeth.
- Expose Them to Dentistry
Reading children books and allowing them to watch TV shows of their favorite characters visiting the dentist allows them to learn more about going to the dentist and gets them excited about going. Another idea is that you can also check out the dental office’s website or Instagram and show them pictures of the staff in order to familiarize them with the names and faces. Explain what will be happening during their visit and how friendly the dental staff will be. You can also bring them to tour around the office or to any events hosted by the office before their visit to also help familiarize themselves. Here at Credit River Dental Centre, parents and children may borrow books from our Children’s Dental Library that can help introduce children into a positive dental environment.
- Tell Us More About Your Child
As your Mississauga family dentist, we will do our best to ensure that your child has a great and comfortable experience. Telling us about their favorite shows or activities will allow us to prepare for their appointment as soon as they come in. If you don’t, our friendly patient co-ordinator will be sure to ask when you call us. You can also let us know if your child has any fearful traits which will allow us to develop strategies to prevent any problems that may arise during treatment.
- Make Your Child Feel Secure
Children cope with anxiety in different ways, some by hugging their favorite stuffed animal and others by simply staying close to their moms. As you enter the clinic, hold your child tightly as you introduce the dental office. This will allow them to feel your support and allow them to be more comfortable knowing that you are there with them. Allowing them to bring their favorite toy as well will also give them extra support. It is important for the child to feel comfortable inside the clinic first before they go to sit on the dental chair.
Starting children off at a young age is crucial to developing good dental hygiene habits for their future and will only make future visits easier. If you are currently looking for a family dental clinic who will offer your child a wonderful and comfortable experience, be sure to contact Credit River Dental Centre and schedule your child’s first dentist appointment with our experienced and compassionate professionals today!