One way or another, your child must visit a dentist for a quick check-up. While you can skip this process, you wouldn’t want to put your child in pain when they experience tooth pains. Visiting a dentist is part of maintaining good oral health. However, not everyone, especially children, enjoys visiting the dentist.
Going to the dentist for the first time can be a daunting experience for a child. As a parent, you should prepare your child before their first dental visit. Painting a positive experience can help them enjoy their day at the clinic. To avoid causing fear, you should plan and understand what to expect before, during, and after your child’s initial dental visit.
What To Do Before The Visit
Your child’s experience will depend on how well you prepare for the day. Proper preparation can make or break your child’s expectations, affecting their future appointments. Starting your day with a positive mood and ambiance can make the day enjoyable.
Listed below are the things to prepare before your child’s first dental visit:
- Look For A Good Pediatric Dentist
Your dentist can significantly influence your child’s first dental experience. Ideally, it helps to look for an excellent pediatric dentist who can perfectly handle every child’s mood. Not every kid can be calm sitting on a dental chair.
Your dentist should know how to make a child comfortable under their care. They must also be patient as they’ll deal with tantrums and delays. You can search online for reliable pediatric dentists. You can check familydentalhealth.com or other dentists near your area.
When deciding on the clinic, you must check the clinic’s reviews from actual patients. It’ll help you determine if they’ll be the perfect choice for your child. Call the clinic to see if they sound friendly or fun enough for your child.
You can visit the clinic to see if they have friendly staff. The fun decorations and colors can make your child feel more comfortable. Also, ask the clinic if they offer family services. That way, the entire family can visit a single dentist for all dental needs.
- Be Optimistic
Showing anxiety can harm your child’s experience. It’ll make it harder for them to be comfortable in a dental clinic. It’s best to toughen up and show optimism to your child about dental visits. Show them that visiting a dentist is nothing to fear.
When talking with your child, keep a positive mood throughout the conversation. Put a happy face as you describe what’ll happen. Mind the tone of your voice, and remember to keep everything light and airy.
When you walk inside the clinic, put a happy smile on your face and ensure your child sees it. That way, they can incorporate the event into something fun and exciting. On the other hand, when your child shows fear or anxiety about the visit, you must validate it.
Let them feel heard and understood about their emotions. Let your child know that what they’re feeling is normal. You can emphasize how strong they are for facing their fears and how proud you are of their bravery.
- Inform Your Child The Same Day
If you tell your child about their appointment days before the event, they may imagine awful things. Unfortunately, it may lead to negativity. Hence, it would be best to inform your child about their dental visit on the same day as their appointment.
Surprising your child about their dental visit gives them less room to overthink. They won’t drown themselves in negative thoughts but deal with them immediately. Alternatively, you can drive them to the dental clinic and surprise them with the visit. Make it a fun surprise, so your child can consider it a fun event.
- Read Books Or Watch Videos
Plenty of books and videos online can help your child prepare for their first dental visit. You can choose a book or a video that shows what will happen during their appointment. You can tell them scenarios wherein everything turned out well, and there was no pain. Your stories should convey how the dentists helped the kids make their smiles look better.
Keep a friendly and happy tone as you read to your child. Point out what kind of tools dentists use and what they’ll use them for. When watching a video, it’s ideal if it shows their favorite cartoon character or a kid about their age. That way, they can visualize what’ll happen during their visit. You can watch the video first to see if it’ll end well and if it’s informative enough.
- Play A Dentist Game
Along with reading books and watching videos, playing a game will be more helpful. Purchasing dental toys can let your child feel comfortable with the tools. You can also allow your child to act as a dentist and let them have a peek at your mouth. Alternatively, you can be the dentist and pretend to examine your child’s mouth.
You can make it more fun by singing happy songs and exaggerating how fun it is to be in a dental clinic. You can also ask some family or friends to visit and play pretend games with your child. It could make your child more comfortable by checking other people’s mouths. Remind them never to show pain during the process and make the experience fun for your child.
- Bring Toys
If your child has a favorite toy, you can bring it during their dental visit. Your child’s favorite toy can help them calm down. You can also take some old favorites they haven’t played in a while. Seeing their favorite toy can make them feel safe as they hug them throughout the session.
- Schedule The Appointment During Good Hours
Expecting a successful dental appointment with a child is almost impossible. If your child throws tantrums, they might not cooperate reasonably with their dentist. They might not even sit on the dental chair and will cry and fight their way out of the clinic. Hence, scheduling your visit during good hours is best to avoid wasting your appointment.
It’s better to make a dental appointment when your child is in their best mood. It could be after their nap or mealtime, wherein they’ve met all their needs. This way, they’ll be more open to cooperating. They’ll follow the dentist and be comfortable on the chair, turning in a successful visit.
- Prepare Child’s Medical And Food History
Before you drive to the clinic, you can prepare your child’s medical and food history. You need to list every medical condition and procedure your child had. It’s also best to be specific when listing your child’s food history.
Is your child a fan of sweets? Do they like fruits? Do they prefer to drink water or fruit juice? What your child puts in their mouth can say a lot about their oral health. It can help their dentist identify the cause of oral concerns.
During your interview with the dentist, you must stay transparent. Let them know every detail about their diet, whether they eat healthily or not. Reviewing your child’s oral health might be a good eye-opener for ensuring their overall health.
Preparing your child days or weeks before their first dental visit is necessary. You can begin by reading them books and introducing them to dental toys. You can inform them about their appointment on the same day but do early mental preparations. While painting a happy experience may take a while, it can make the event more comfortable for your child.
What To Do During The Visit
The sound of the machine might feel intimidating, or the mood of the place might be off-putting for your child. You must make your child feel at ease during the appointment to help them cooperate.
Below are some things you can do during their dental visit:
- Talk To Your Child
Your child must sit on the dental chair as the dentist checks their mouth. They might feel anxious when sitting alone with unfamiliar people and surroundings. It’ll be helpful if you could continuously talk to your child to let them know that you’re there and they’re safe. You can also hold their hand or foot during the session.
As your child sits on the chair, you can talk to them cheerfully. Tell them they’re doing a great job. You can make them feel safe by saying they’ll be in no more pain after the visit. You can also say that the dentist will only check their teeth to see if they’re shiny and white.
- Play Their Favorite Music
Your child can be calmer when they hear their favorite music playing in the background. You can download your child’s favorite music or nursery rhyme and play it on your phone. You can also take their headphones and let them listen to music while the dentist examines their mouth.
Ideally, you can create a playlist before your appointment. This way, you’ll no longer search for your child’s favorite music; you can instantly hit play.
- Prepare Yourself For An Unsuccessful Visit
Sadly, not all dental appointments are a success. There are instances where a child might fight their way and not cooperate during their visit. If this happens with your child, you must prepare yourself and not show disappointment.
Your child might still not be ready or has developed a great fear of the dentist. Forcing your child will make them link their dental visit with trauma. When this happens, it would be better to reschedule when your child is more understanding.
The best thing you can do during your child’s first dental visit is to keep calm. You can make your child feel safe by talking to them or listening to their favorite tunes. While an unsuccessful visit is possible, it’s still best to show encouragement.
What To Do After The Visit
Every parent wants their child to have a positive experience. Hence, there are several things to do after your child’s first dental visit.
Listed below are the things you must do after the visit:
- Emphasize The Good Things
After your dental appointment, emphasize the good things that happened to your child. Tell them how brave they are for facing their fears and how proud you are as a parent. Showing enthusiasm can help your child leave the clinic with a good experience from their dental appointment.
- Ask About Their Experience
After the visit, have a quick conversation with your child. Ask them about their experience and see if they had fun. You can ask them if they’re uncomfortable with their dentist or prefer to visit a different one. With those questions, you can look for ways to make your child more comfortable.
- Take A Quick Trip To The Park
You can reward your child who bravely faced their fears by giving them a small prize. It doesn’t have to be something grand. It can be something new and exciting. You can take a quick trip to the park and let them enjoy themselves for a few minutes. That way, they can incorporate their dental visits with something fun and unique.
- List Down Tips From Your Dentist
Your dentist will probably give you tips on how to improve your child’s oral health. It could be updating their diet or routine. You need to list down every detail your dentist would have to say and ensure that you follow them as you get home. You can prepare a pen and paper or list them on your phone.
As you prepare what you must do after your visit, you can make your child enjoy their dental appointment by telling them to say their goodbyes to their dentist and nurses. That way, they’ll look forward to their next visit.
Preparing for your child’s first dental visit is essential. The most crucial part is before your appointment. It sets their mood and expectations for the day. By involving their dental appointments with something cheerful, they can feel safer.
While it might take quite a while for your child to get excited about their dental appointment, you can prepare things for them to make their first visit an enjoyable experience. You can watch videos, tell them stories, or play fun and exciting games. These things can have a positive impact on their first dental visit.