Ongoing dental care is an important component of your child's overall health care. The dentist's office can be a scary place, however, full of strange noises and equipment, but it doesn't have to be. To make sure your child views the dental office as a happy place to visit, follow these three steps to make their first trip to the dentist fun.
Teach your child about dental care at home using books, coloring pages, games and toys. This teaches children about the importance of dental care and what to expect before heading to the dentist. You should also teach your child to brush their teeth and practice flossing. You'll have to do the brushing to make sure they do a good job, of course, but let your child do some brushing themselves. All of this practice will get your little one used to having hands and tools in their mouth.
Pick The Right Dentist
A qualified pediatric dentist, like the professionals at Dentistry For Children & Adolescents, is the best choice for little ones. Pediatric dentists are experts in children's teeth and intentionally create kid-friendly clinics. From colorful wall murals to stacks of fun toys, pediatric dentists specialize in making dentistry as fun and nonthreatening as it can possibly be. They are good at keeping children calm and happy while utilizing their special training to catch children's dental issues early.
Reward Your Little Patient
Remember to reward good behavior after a successful trip to the dentist. Stickers, pencil erasers, plastic rings, key chains and other trinkets reinforce the notion that the dentist's office is a great place to visit. While these items are generally used after the visit along with praise, they can also be given to children who seem uncomfortable or frightened in the dentist's chair. These distractions can often turn around a visit that isn't going well.
Because your child's first dental visit should happen around the age of 1, the first trip to the dentist can be intense even if you have prepared your child. If your child is truly frightened and neither you nor the dentist can calm them, cut the visit short and try again in a few months. Some kids just need a little more time to get ready. If yours is one of them, end the visit quickly to minimize the trauma and start again, continuing to use these three tips before and during their next appointment. Keep smiling and making a game out of the experience and soon your child will be handling the dentist like a pro.