So it’s time to take your child to the dentist for the first time. This is a pretty significant milestone, one that can be both exciting and a little anxiety-inducing. Your child is young–how will they behave? Will they be scared? A lot of that depends on how you prepare your child for their first appointment.
Find a Great Pediatric Dentist
The first thing to do is to find a great pediatric dentist. Why a pediatric dentist as opposed to any other dentist? Because a pediatric dentist has undergone additional education and training to learn how to address the unique needs of pediatric patients better. In addition to further training and education, great pediatric dentists understand that children may need extra emotional support. They know how to interact with children in a way that puts the child and their parents at ease.
Talk to Your Child about What to Expect
Because your child hasn’t gone to the dentist before, they have no way of knowing what to expect unless you tell them. Going somewhere new to see people they’ve never seen before who will get up in their personal space and poke around at their mouth is enough to put even the most mild-mannered child off if they don’t know it’s coming. Tell your child you’re taking them to the dentist. You could describe it to them as seeing a doctor for their teeth. Tell them that you’ll stay with them during their appointment. That can help them feel more comfortable when they’re there.
Thoroughly Brush and Floss Their Teeth
On the day of the appointment, take time to thoroughly brush your child’s teeth, just like you do every morning and night. If their teeth are close enough together for them to touch, floss them as well. This is great preparation for their appointment. Regular oral care at home helps children get used to someone cleaning their teeth. That makes getting them cleaned at the dentist’s office a little less foreign.
Preparing your child for their first dental appointment can make a huge difference in how well it goes. Proper preparation requires time and planning but giving your child a positive first dental experience is well worth the effort. Remember, it’s a crucial element of oral care that sets them up for a lifetime of good oral health. That’s something that will only benefit them.
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