As children get older, there comes a time when biannual dental cleanings and checkups become important for both the oral health and the general health of your child.
However, the initial dental visit can be scary for both the parents and the child.
Here are some of the best tips to ensure your child’s first appointment at the dentist is a successful one:
- Use positive words of encouragement to show your child that the dentist is a happy place to visit and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Saying things like, “Your teeth are going to be so
bright and shiny clean after your dentist visit” ensures your child that the dentist isn’t something to fear. These positive words will stick with your child even later in life, preventing their chances of dental anxiety arising.
- Teach your child the benefits of keeping their teeth healthy. Tell them how having clean, well-brushed teeth lead to beautiful, white teeth and no cavities. This will make them actually want to go to the dentist, and of course, participate in oral hygiene routines.
- Singing songs, watching TV shows, or reading books all related to going to the dentist are great ways to teach your child the importance of keeping their teeth healthy and clean. Surely, you can probably find free, dentist-related videos online for children to watch to teach them about the dentist or even dentist games to show them what the dentist is all about.
- Play “pretend dentist” with your child. This can be merely imaginary play, or you can also purchase fake toy dentist tools at a toy store to “clean” and “operate” on your child’s teeth. This will turn going to the dentist into a fun and stress-free task.
- Let your child pick out their very own toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. This customization offers children the advantage in making the “adult” decision they need to properly care for their pearly whites. Also, this makes caring for the teeth so much for fun for the kids (and of course, going to the dentist)!
- Take your child to a kid-friendly dental facility. Nothing’s worse than going to an adult dental facility with rude hygienists who dislike children. You don’t want your child to feel unwelcome or nervous visiting the dentist. At a kid-friendly facility, though, dentists and hygienists specialize in all types of children and know all the tips and tricks to make their dental visit fun and run more smoothly. These facilities also usually have a waiting room with games, books, or toys for the children to play with before their appointment, fun decor on the walls and around the room to help distract the children, and even sometimes give toys and other prizes to children after their visit is completed.
- Reward them after their dentist appointment to show them that they’ve made a big step in their life being brave enough to conquer the unknown. Treat your child to ice cream (after a half hour after the cleaning, of course), a small toy, or a trip to the movies.