4 Tips for Preparing Kids for Their First Dental Check-up
A trip to the dentist is not something that most kids look forward to. The mere sight of the dental chair is enough to make them wail and throw a tantrum; anything to get them out of the clinic fast. There are many reasons why kids want to avoid the “dreaded chair” at all costs, but an unpleasant first visit is the one that tops the list.
To make your child’s first visit to the dentist pleasant and even enjoyable, here are four tips you could consider:
1. Teach them the importance of keeping their teeth healthy
A child’s first ‘education’ starts at home and this includes learning all about their teeth as well as oral and dental health. Be their example. Show them how you brush your teeth. Teach them about toothpaste and toothbrushes and how these serve as tools for keeping the teeth and gums healthy. Brush together and sing songs or play a game about brushing. It’s a good way to show them the importance of keeping their teeth healthy, and at the same time, it’s a good few minutes of bonding with them. Brushing could become one of the highlights of your child’s day-to-day.
2. Show them that dentists are “our friends”
Show them picture books and watch children’s shows about teeth and dentists. In other words, give the dentist a positive image. It’s important to get everyone in the family involved, which means asking everyone to paint the dentist and a dental visit in a positive light. Avoid talks about experiences that could influence your child’s perception of the dentist in a way that elicits fear and anxiety.
3. Make their first visit a “getting to know you”
To ease your child into their first dental check-up, it would be best to introduce them to their dentist first and schedule a check-up for another day. This will allow your child to get familiar with the dentist and the clinic. Most pediatric dentists have toys and books at the clinic. Let your child enjoy these during the first visit. To put it another way, make their first unofficial visit a play date with the dentist. For this, you will have to talk to the dentist first so you can schedule a meet-and-greet.
4. Get them dental toys
There are toys that allow kids to play dentist. After the meet-and-greet, get them “dental toys.” Talk about the toys and show them how these are just like what the dentist showed them during their introductory visit. It’s a fun way to show them that these tools are not something to be afraid of.
While these tips are meant to help you prepare your child for their first dental check-up, it goes without saying that your dentist plays a big role, too. Choose someone you are comfortable with and someone who has a good reputation for being good with kids.