3 Ways to Make Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment as Easy as Possible
Wondering when your child needs to start seeing a dentist? A good rule of thumb is to take him for his first checkup when his first tooth breaks through – or around his first birthday, whichever comes first. Getting started early is the best way to help prevent cavities and begin good oral hygiene habits. In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, here are three simple ways you can make your child’s first dentist appointment a breeze:
Prepare Him Ahead of Time
Getting ready for a trip to the dentist begins at home. Rather than taking your child to your dentist, look for a pediatric dentist’s office – since these practices specialize in children, they’ll know the right tricks to keep him calm and reduce stress. Before you leave for the office, talk to your child about what he should expect when he gets in the chair. Practice teeth brushing with him so he isn’t surprised by the feeling of a toothbrush in his mouth at the appointment.
Talk Through the Teeth Cleaning Process
The dentist will likely explain what’s going on to your child throughout the check-up, but you can also help him feel secure by letting him know what’s happening. Prepare him for the toothbrush or other dental tools about to enter his mouth, share why keeping his teeth clean in that way is so important, and reiterate that Mom and Dad go through the same experiences when they have a dentist appointment.
Children can tell when parents are feeling stressed out, and this can cause them to panic. During his check-up, make sure you are relaxed and show a positive attitude. Remind him what a great job he’s doing throughout the entire process and encourage him to continue behaving well. Express that you want him to show the dentist how clean and healthy his teeth are, so he feels confident about allowing a stranger to brush and examine them.
Remember, healthy habits begin at home. Children often mirror the behavior of their parents, so by taking time out of your day to properly brush your teeth with your little one, you’re showing him the importance of oral hygiene. The better your routine is, the easier future dental appointments will be – for both you, and your child.