When your child develops his first tooth, he needs to see a dentist within six months. At the latest, your child should see a dentist before the age of two. This first dental visit can be a frightening experience for some children, but there are some things you can do to make the experience more positive. Follow these tips to give your child a good first experience of dental checkups.
1. Choose a Suitable Dentist
Select a dentist who has experience of working with young children. If you don't think the dentist you see would be suitable, ask your friends to recommend a friendly and approachable family dentist.
2. Prepare Your Child
Unfamiliar situations can be frightening for kids. Help your toddler know what to expect by playing dentist games with their toys or telling them stories about visiting the dentist. Explain that the dentist will look at your child's teeth to help them be strong and white.
3. Be as Positive as Possible
If you dread going to the dentist, it's easy to pass those fears on to your child. Try to keep a positive attitude toward the dental visit to help your child feel calm and relaxed. Use positive language and a happy tone of voice when talking about the dentist. Avoid mentioning anything frightening, such as tooth decay, drilling or tooth extractions. During and after the appointment, give your child plenty of praise for sitting still, opening wide and cooperating with the dentist.
4. Get There Early
Arrive in good time for the appointment so you don't feel stressed and rushed. Bring a favourite book or doll to keep your child entertained in the waiting room. This extra time is a good opportunity for kids to become familiar with the environment in the dentist's office and waiting area, so it isn't as frightening for them in the future.
5. Don't Put Off Future Appointments
Before you leave the dentist's office, book another appointment for six months later. Regularly visiting the dentist at a young age can help children get into the habit of having frequent checkups, which will help them protect their dental health when they are older. If you allow your child to put off going to the dentist, the fear of having a checkup could build up until it becomes a serious dental phobia. Take your child to the dentist every six months unless your family dentist recommends a different schedule.