February is National Children’s Dental Care Month. It’s no surprise that many parents are nervous about their child’s first dental visit. A child’s first impression of the dentist can influence their relationship with dental office visits in the future as well as their teeth cleaning habits, making their first experience pleasant very important.
Tip 1: Start your child early. The American Dental Association says that a child’s first dental visit should occur within 6 months of when the child’s first tooth appears but no later than their first birthday. By starting dental visits early in life it can drastically increase your child’s comfort level at the dentist
Tip 2: Have your child tag along during your dentist visit for you or their siblings, especially if they are going to be seeing the same dentist. Seeing a family member’s appointment take place may make your child’s appointment seem less scary.
Tip 3: Talk about the upcoming appointment, but be careful about the words you use. Avoid using the words “shot,” “hurt,” or “drill.” Instead talk about how shiny and strong their teeth will be. You can even practice by taking turns being the dentist and looking at each other’s teeth with a pen light.
Tip 4: Arrive early. Children are very perceptive to the emotional state of those around them. If you’re running late so you’re feeling anxious and frantic, your child will reflect that and be slightly anxious and frantic themselves. Also by arriving early it gives your child time to familiarize themselves with these strange new surroundings.
Tip 5: Bring a pal. Many children have a toy or stuffed animal that makes them feel safer, a special friend that might be able to tag along to the dentist. The dentist may even perform a quick checkup on your child’s special pal first to put your child’s mind at ease. It can really do wonders to break the ice.
Tip 6: Keep it simple. You don’t need to talk about root canals and fillings. If your child asks what’s going to happen during their appointment, all you need to say is that the dentist will check their smile and count their teeth. Don’t overburden with information that may cause undue stress.
Tip 7: Don’t bribe your child into going to the dentist. This only reaffirms the feeling that going to the dentist will be unpleasant and that they will need to be persuaded into going.
And above all talk to the dentist about your concerns. If you’re worried for any reason about your child’s upcoming visit it is important that you have your questions answered and that you feel comfortable so that your child doesn’t start to pick up on your anxiety, it will only make them anxious too.
If you have questions about scheduling your child’s first appointment give Dr. Truong’s office a call (916) 649 – 0249
Call to schedule your little one’s appointment today.