Your child’s first visit to the dentist is a big milestone!
It’s a new experience for both you and them and it can be quite nerve-wracking as it’s difficult to determine how they will react. Here are some of our top tips to ensure that your child’s first visit to the dentist runs as smoothly as possible.
Don’t let your own fear of the dentist affect your child.
Whether you are a fan of going to your dentist or not, try to remain as calm and confident as possible. You don’t want their first visit to the dentist to be negative. As parents, it’s easy to worry that your child will be in pain or discomfort but a positive attitude from you will put them at ease. Your child trusts you and if you display signs of worry, this may cause them to panic. Dentists are expertly trained to work with children and your child will be in safe hands at all times.
Make a trip to the dentist fun with games or story lines.
A trip to the dentist may not be as fun as a day at the park or a trip to the cinema but try not to talk about trips to the dentist as if it is a negative experience. Try to make it as fun as possible – tell your child that the dentist is there to ‘hunt for sugar bugs’ or that the dentist is ‘going on an adventure and is going exploring in your mouth’. The more fun you can make it, the more willing they will be to join in and cooperate!
Talk about the dentist in a positive light.
Talk about visiting the dentist with your child and talk about it in a positive tone. Don’t use words with negative connotations that suggest that visiting the dentist could be a bad experience. Avoid any words that a child may associate with pain such as ‘sore’ ‘needles’ ‘numb’ as this can make them reluctant and scared. Instead, reassure them that the dentist is there to help them look after their beautiful smile!
Dentistry has come a long way and the technologies and techniques are always improving. Don’t mention any bad experiences you’ve had with the dentist in years gone by. Mention of injections, drills, or getting teeth extracted could make your child uneasy. It is important that your child trusts their dentist fully, so mentioning any negative experiences will break down the foundations of that trust before it has even been built.
Don’t bribe your child.
Especially not with sugary treats after their appointment. Saying ‘if you behave well at the dentist, we can get ice cream’ is counterproductive. Offering your child sweet treats after visiting the dentist sends the wrong message to children, after all, the dentist doesn’t encourage eating sweets! Instead, give them lots of praise and reassurance before, during and after their visit.
Looking to register your child with a dental practice for their first appointment? We can help you. On our website DefactoDentists.com, you can search for child-friendly practices that are local to you. Simply enter your location, tick ‘Child-Friendly’ on the list on the left hand side and browse your options! Read reviews from existing patients, read about the practice teams and what they can do for you. Finding the perfect dentist has never been easier.