Your child will experience many rites of passage in her life. One of her first ones –– outside of being born, of course –– will be her first visit to the dentist. For children, going to the dentist for the first time can be an exciting, enjoyable and smooth experience for both them and their parents. Here is a guide on what you need to do to prepare for your child’s first dental visit.
Start Her Young
Ready to take your child to the dentist but not sure when exactly to do it? A great time for your child’s first dental visit is when her first tooth pops up or around her first birthday. This is a perfect time for a first pediatric dental check up because your child’s dentist can immediately spot any possible problems with the development and growth of your little one’s soft palate and jaw.
Teeth in babies happen to be more porous than teeth in adults are, which means they are more vulnerable to decay. The earlier you take your child to the dentist, the greater the chance that her pearly whites will remain healthy.
Is your child older than 1 and still hasn’t had her first pediatric dental check up yet? No need to fret –– it’s not too late for your child’s first dental visit.
While you’re waiting to take your child to her first pediatric dental check up, be sure to brush her teeth at home. A baby-safe or soft-bristled toothbrush and water will do the trick. This is critical for creating healthy tooth brushing habits early on.
Give Your Child a Tooth Lesson
The perfect moment to teach your child about going to the dentist is before your child’s first dental visit. Children naturally enjoy learning about how their bodies work, and their teeth are no exception. In the same way, they enjoy touching things, smiling and exploring new things. So, while you’re singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” with your child during playtime, why not create your own rendition of the song by adding words like “tooth,” “tongue” and “gums” to the list?
Crafts and Books
In addition to singing about teeth, getting crafty is a fun way to introduce the dentist to your child. For instance, draw and color pictures of teeth with your little one. You can also read children’s books about going to the dentist, brushing teeth and having a healthy smile. All of this will thrill and intrigue your child, therefore making your child’s first dental visit something to look forward to.
Have a Positive Attitude
You may have inherited a fear of the dentist over the years from your parents. Or perhaps you had bad experiences as a child due to visiting dental offices that weren’t the greatest at catering to children. However, this doesn’t mean your child has to have the same experience. In fact, the more positive your attitude is toward the dentist, the more natural it will be for her to feel good about her first pediatric dental check up.
Why Having a Positive Attitude As a Parent is Critical
Toddlers and babies, just like children who are older, are extremely sensitive to their parents’ energy and attitudes. In addition, they oftentimes mirror their parents’ behaviors. For example, if you’re happy and relaxed, your child will be more likely to feel the same way. So, be sure that your outlook on the dentist is positive when you talk to your child –– even if she’s only a baby. In fact, to make your child’s first dental visit an exhilarating event in her mind, allow her to pick out her first-day-at-the-dentist outfit. She could even set aside the stuffed animal she can’t wait to take to the dentist with her.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As mentioned earlier, when preparing for your child’s first dental visit, show her how to brush her teeth at home. In fact, you can have a “tooth brushing party” each night before bedtime where both you and your child take turns brushing your teeth and showing off your bright beams. If your child has an older sibling who has already had his first pediatric dental checkup, he’s invited to the party, too! The more the merrier.
An important thing to teach your child during your tooth brushing party is that although brushing her teeth may be a lot of fun, her toothbrush is not a toy. In addition, teach her that you have to be there to supervise her while she’s using her toothbrush. Although your little one can certainly practice tooth brushing motions, you’ll ultimately the one brushing her teeth to ensure that it is done properly.
What if Your Child Is Not Cooperative?
Especially if your little one is a toddler, you may have a hard time getting her to quit doing a fun activity to brush her teeth. If your child is resistant to your tooth brushing guidance and instruction, you can simply break down the process into steps for her. For instance, tell her that it’s time to brush her teeth and then you’ll play a fun game together. In this way, tooth brushing time becomes a welcome part of her day, as it is followed by yet another enjoyable experience.
Add in Some Tooth Brushing Tunes
Want to make tooth brushing even more fun ahead of your child’s first dental visit? Sing songs while you’re brushing your teeth together. For instance, “Bingo” or “The Wheels on the Bus” can easily become your staple tooth brushing tunes.
Choose a Reputable Office
This is one of the most critical steps you can take when preparing for your child’s first dental visit. The right pediatric dental office is one that is conveniently located close to your home, offers flexible appointment times and features caring dental professionals.
Contact Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental today to set up a dental visit for your child and learn how you can start her off right when it comes to protecting her beautiful smile.