How can I make my child's first dental visit successful?
There are a number of tips we have seen work to help ensure that your child’s visit to the dentist is positive. It’s important that your child understands the importance of taking care of the health of their teeth over their lifetime, and it’s important to establish this habit at an early age. Parents indeed set a tone in how they present dental visits to their child. Many parents have found that explaining in age-appropriate terms the importance of caring for their teeth and giving a brief description of what will happen during a visit clearly helps to set their child at ease. There are a number of children’s short videos or cartoons online that parents can find helpful in preparing their child for a first visit (Try Googling “child’s first dental visit”). A surprise visit without any explanations for a child is likely to be a recipe for a frightening or scary experience. Allowing the child to bring a small favorite toy or stuffed animal may also help to alleviate fear or help to keep a child in a happy mindset. Choosing a specific time when your child is least fussy or having an older sibling go first often will send a positive message and set a child at ease. We find that bringing your child along with you to your routine dental visit prior to their visit shows them that going to the dentist is a normal and non-threatening thing that mom or dad does.
The first visit helps to establish a positive relationship and provide education for the parent as well as the child for the developmental milestones ahead. This visit is usually short and involves little treatment. However, if your child has stain on their teeth that occurs in infancy, this may be removed. The dentist or hygienist may apply fluoride to reduce the risk of developing cavities. Techniques for cleaning teeth, specific advice about home care, hygiene, diet and use of fluorides may also be addressed. Education about what to expect as a child grows and develops in the coming months is also important. In the event of a child being upset during a visit, experience shows it is wisest to simplify the appointment, accentuate the positive aspects of the visit and reschedule for a time when a child is calm and more likely to have a positive office experience. To try to accomplish too much during a visit while a child is upset may negatively influence their future attitudes about visiting the dentist. This situation is to be avoided!
Each child is unique and we pride ourselves on finding the answers to what will make your child’s visit the first of many successful visits. The recommended interval for visits is every 6 months in order to build up a child’s comfort level and confidence. It helps us to better monitor the development of teeth and to promptly treat any problems early on.
Our practice looks forward to being your partner in the health and care of your child’s and family’s oral care! Give us a call at 612-781-9270.