GOING TO THE DENTIST
Dreading this milestone in your little one's life? You're probably not alone in feeling this way. Kids' reactions to going to the dentist—especially for the first time—can be unpredictable, to say the least. The most important rule is to make sure your child is comfortable. The dentists we go to as grown-ups aren’t necessarily the best choice for your little one. So it pays to do some research in finding a new one that’s the best fit.
GEARING UP FOR THAT FIRST VISIT
The first trip to the dentist should happen as soon as the first tooth appears or by your baby’s first birthday. We understand you might be nervous, but it’s unlikely your child will need any treatment during that first visit. The dentist will simply check to see that your baby’s teeth are growing and developing the way they should.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY CHILD GO TO THE DENTIST?
Good news! You can take your little one with you during your dentist visits if you want to, because they should also get a check-up every six months. These visits are one of the most important parts of looking after their smile.
Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist questions. A good one will take the time to talk to you about proper oral care, how your child’s teeth are developing, and when to bring them in for regular check-ups. If they’re really child friendly, they might even let your children come in and have a ride in the chair!
KEEP CALM AND FOLLOW THESE TIPS
Visiting the dentist can be scary for children, and even some adults. To keep your children from getting anxious, remember these tips:
Don’t show your anxiety if you’re scared of the dentist yourself. Children will pick up on it and copy your behavior.
Take them to the dentist regularly—once every 6 months. Children who only go to the dentist when there’s a problem will quickly start to associate being there with getting bad news about their teeth. Plus, frequent check-ups are the best way to catch problems before they become painful or need further treatment.
If there is a genuine fear, talk to your children. Once you know where the fears lie, they can be easier to deal with.
You already know that a tired child can be a difficult child. See if you can schedule an appointment for the morning.
If there’s a real problem, consider visiting a pediatric dentist (pedodontist). These specialists have had extra training to work with children.
THE REWARD > THE RISK
To help your child feel proud of their visit, try printing a certificate before you go to the dentist and as soon as the appointment is over, get the dentist to present it to your good little patient.
Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to help him in the fight against cavities.