Part of offering family dentistry is ensuring that our youngest patients feel especially comfortable. We do everything we can to make the dentist a friendly, safe and informative environment for your child. Here are a few tips for what you can do as a parent to make your child’s first visit easy on you and your little one.
Set a good example
If you have an older child, bring the little one along to their appointment. Chances are your child will want to emulate their older sibling’s good behavior. If there are no older children in your family, set a good example yourself by having your child along with you at your next appointment. All little kids want to be like their moms and dads!
Show no fear
If you’re fearful or anxious at the dentist, try not to let it show. Don’t say anything that may worry your child, even if you’re a little worried yourself. Don’t try to set any expectations of sensations or how long the appointment will be. If you don’t think your dental anxiety is something you can easily control, you may consider having your spouse be in charge of dental visits at first.
Don’t try to explain the concept of why we go to the dentist to your little one. Sometimes the idea of germs or scary “sugar bugs” cause more trouble than they help. Telling your child that the dentist will be looking in her mouth to count her teeth is usually familiar enough of a concept for a child to accept.
Make it rewarding
Bring along a favorite toy or promise a new one following the appointment as a reward. Some children are overwhelmed by the bright light shining in their eyes in the dental chair, so another fun reward or preparation can be choosing a cool and colorful pair of sunglasses to wear during the checkup, and of course keep afterwards!
Scope it out
Ask the dental staff if you can bring your child in for a tour before the appointment. Make it a fun experience full of discovery and new things, as if you were visiting a children’s science museum. Familiarity can help children adjust when it’s their turn in the dental chair.