With around 36% of the population experiencing dental fear, it’s naturally more common in children — and important to show them as much as possible that it’s unfounded, so they don’t keep that fear going into adulthood.
The best way to do this is by successfully navigating their first dental visit and making it a smooth experience. This might not be easy, but it can be done!
Here’s what to expect from the first dentist appointment and how to navigate any common challenges that might come up.
Remember, some dental fear is natural, but by staying calm and following these tips, you can make it a good experience for your child!
What to Expect At a First Dentist Appointment
The dentist will examine your child’s teeth, either with them sitting in the chair on in your lap, for problems. Once they’ve done this, they will clean the teeth as gently as possible.
Afterward, you can ask any questions you may have about taking care of your child’s teeth.
The easiest way to make this a good visit is to make sure you pick a good pediatric dentist. For them, a kid’s first dentist appointment is all in a day’s work, and they’ll know how to make the process easier.
The visit may not go as smoothly as you’d hoped. These are the common challenges that might arise, and how to deal with them.
Your Child Is Grumpy From the Start
Your child may not be up for experiencing something new today, which sets a bad tone from the start!
Try to prevent this by scheduling the appointment for a time when they won’t be tired or hungry. This means they’re less likely to throw a fuss about going somewhere new.
A full, well-rested child is best!
They might be afraid of going to the dentist from the start.
When it comes to what to bring to a first dentist appointment, many parents don’t consider a stuffed animal — but if this alleviates the fear in your child, it’s a great idea.
Make sure you tell them plenty of positive stories about the dentist too. Make it a fun and exciting place!
They Have a Hard Time Letting the Dentist Do Their Job
They might be reluctant to let the dentist examine their mouth properly.
When they eventually do, make the next visit easier by rewarding them for the experience. Give them their favorite food afterward, or a toy they’ve been wanting.
It’s okay to treat your child to give them a positive association with the dentist. That way, they might feel better about it next time, as they’re imagining a reward at the end of it!
You’ve Both Got This!
Baby’s first dentist appointment can be stressful, but as long as you’re prepared with some positive stories, an upbeat attitude, and perhaps a reward at the end, it should go fine. An experienced pediatric dentist will go a long way in helping your child feel comfortable and relaxed.
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