How to Make Your Child’s First Dentist Visit a Good Experience
Taking your child for regular dental check-ups is essential so that they can learn about good oral health care, and start early on the journey of maintaining healthy gums and teeth.
Your kids’ first visit to the dentist is usually for them to meet the dentist who can tell them about the importance of keeping their teeth healthy. However, your little one might have heard tales of woe about dentist visits from friends at school and could be scared about going to the dentist.
Here are some easy ways to prepare their minds and get them ready for a fear-free trip to the dentist.
Choose the Right Dentist
Ask family and friends for recommendations of dentists they have used or are currently using who they have had consistently good experiences with. Not all dentists feel familiar or are comfortable with infant and toddler patients. So, go by yourself to visit their office ahead of time and ensure they have strategies for making children comfortable, and that making the experience an enjoyable one for children is important to them as well.
Research good kid-friendly dentists in your area, or use your own dentist if you are comfortable with the idea. Sometimes, because children follow their parents to the dentist, they develop a sense of ease in the environment and it’s easier to transition into patients.
Have the Oral Health Talk
Get your child prepared by talking to him or her about teeth. Talk about what teeth are and why you have to take good care of them. Read children’s books about oral care or visits to the dentist together to manage their expectations for visiting the dentist and provide a positive picture of what will go on during an exam.
Some good books to try are Just going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer or Doctor DeSoto by William Steig. Make it fun by playing ‘dentist,’ making use of props like toothbrushes, cups for rinsing, flashlights and so on. Invite their stuffed animals for a check-up and your child can practice being a dentist, patient or even the parents.
Get Insurance Out Of The Way
You need to be able to focus your attention fully on your child, helping him calm down or distracting him with toys and games, and you can’t do that if you’re flustered about dental insurance at the hospital. So, get your child’s dental insurance done and out of the way even before you get to the clinic.
A number of schools provide schemes which give parents the opportunity to buy cover for their children at the school. The prices for such policies are usually lower than you would buy individual policies elsewhere.
If you’ve handled the insurance already and the dental practice you take your child to uses the services of a orthodontics marketing company like Orthosynetics, that can ensure patients’ insurance collections are on-point. It will ensure you have a smoother experience and that you’re able to focus on giving your child a good experience at the dentist too.
Start from Home
Tooth brushing is an essential part of our daily grooming habits, and children learn this habit as they become more independent. To introduce little ones to tooth brushing easily, make it a group activity. The little ones can brush their teeth together with parents and older siblings.
Since toothbrushes are tools and not toys, your toddlers need to be closely supervised while brushing. Even after they have practiced the motions of brushing their teeth, you should help them brush properly. If your child is not particularly open to the idea, or is being uncooperative, a ‘first this, then that’ approach to brushing will encourage participation. This means that after brushing, the child can then follow up with an activity that he’s more interested in.
Check Your Own Attitude
Just like older children, babies and toddlers are perceptive and very sensitive to energies and attitudes of people around them. Usually, your child would mirror your behaviour, relaxing when you are relaxed and tensed up when you are tensed or nervous.
When talking to your child about going to the dentist, be relaxed. Ask for questions, pre-formed opinions or fears and answer all questions as positively as you can. Help them pick out a special ‘going to the dentist’ outfit or a special book or toy that they can take along.
Older siblings can also help out by talking about their own positive experience at dental check-ups. You can also help your children prepare for the sights and sounds of a dental office by taking them along on your own visits.
Gearing up for that first dental exam can be stressful, but preparing your toddler for a dental exam can be easier with the steps discussed. From choosing the right dentist to giving them the chance to practice at home, you can make them ready for a good dentist visit.