In the last 20 years of practicing as a dentist I am sure of one thing – having positive, nurturing regular visits to the dentist from a young age is crucial. Teeth appear at roughly six months and while brushing should begin then, a child’s fist dental visit really isn’t viable until about three years of age. Even then sometimes we can only expect a ride in the chair (spaceship or fairy cloud) and maybe a quick count of the teeth. I focus on how we can make children’s visits as enjoyable as possible.
TOP 5 TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR A DENTAL VISIT
- Try to prepare your child for their first visit by discussing with them what a dentist does, and what happens when you go to the dentist. Explain that the dentist might wear a special coat and mask, and will lay you back in their magic chair and give you some sunglasses to wear, while they use special tools to count your teeth. You can tell them that it won’t hurt, and it might even be fun.
- Even if you yourself are a bit apprehensive about the dentist: try not to pass on your own fears.
- Read some of the great range of books available about first dental visits. Even looking at some of the pictures will help familiarise your little ones with what to expect.
- Ask around your friends and family for a dentist that is experienced in treating children. Let the receptionist know when you book the appointment that it is your child’s first visit.
- Consider booking your own appointment at the same time so that your child can see you in the dental chair and see how comfortable and happy you are!