Your child’s permanent teeth will need to last them for life. Even your child’s baby teeth play a role in their oral health and tooth alignment, so taking the best possible care of your child’s smile is imperative to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
One in four children have a cavity by the age of four, so don’t wait to schedule your child’s first trip to the dentist . In fact, children should see the dentist around the time that their first tooth comes in and continue to have regular dental visits to protect their smiles.
So what can you do to prepare your child for their first trip to the dentist? Here are some tips to help you get your child ready for their checkup.
Tell Them What to Expect
If your child is old enough to communicate, it’s important to talk with them about what to expect at the dentist. While you don’t need to go into every detail, you should give them a general idea to help them understand what’s going to happen during their appointment .
Telling your child what to expect gives them a chance to ask questions and for you to generate some excitement around the appointment. It also allows you to communicate to your child the importance of professional oral care in addition to brushing and flossing at home.
Play Dentist at Home
Play is a great way for children to learn. If age appropriate, consider playing dentist at home before going to your appointment. Your child will learn more about what will happen at the dentist as you go through the appointment during playtime.
Try swapping roles with your child where they are the dentist and you are the patient, or use stuffed animals to act out the appointment. You can also read books or watch videos about pediatric dental visits to help your child learn more about the dentist and be more confident about their visit .
Listen to Their Concerns
Your child will likely have some questions or even concerns about going to the dentist. It’s essential to listen to your child and do your best to answer any questions or address any concerns without dismissing them.
Talking with your child and listening to them can help them feel more secure and confident about their appointment and reduce anxiety. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, tell them that you will figure it out together.
Other Tips for Preparing Your Child
There are a few things you can do to make the appointment easier for you, your child, and your dentist.
- Make the appointment at a time when your child will be rested and not tired and cranky
- Have your child eat before the appointment to ensure they don’t get hungry during the visit
- Check in with your child before the appointment and ask how they’re feeling
By preparing your child and working with an experienced pediatric dentist, you can help your child’s first trip to the dentist go as smoothly as possible for a successful appointment.