Are you nervous about taking your child to the dentist for the first time? Since so many adults are still nervous to go, it’s no surprise that some parents are nervous to take their child for their first visit to the dentist. Dentistry definitely has got a bad rap.
Perhaps it’s the sound of the drill while sitting in the reception area, waiting for your turn? Admittedly, it’s not a pleasant sound, however, if you take care of your teeth, you can keep our your firsthand experience with the drill to a minimum!
Considering dental hygiene can affect our overall health it’s very important to encourage kids to visit the dentist from a young age. Eliminating or at least diminishing the fear for our children will make trips to the dentist’s office far less traumatic. The best thing you can do for your child when it comes to lessening that fear is to slowly introduce them to dentistry. Here are 4 steps to help you in the process.
Start with Proper Home Care
Introduce your children to proper home care as early as possible. It can even start when they are an infant. For example, after each feeding, rub their gums with a clean and damp cloth. This will help reduce the chance of bacteria forming, which can ruin their teeth before they even come in.
Once their teeth start coming through, it’s important to start a healthy daily routine, such as brushing, flossing, rinsing, and fluoride treatments. Each step is important and should be done at least twice a day, with the exception of fluoride treatments, which should be done according to the dentist.
Flossing and rinsing are equally as important and should be done frequently to get rid of food particles and plaque that brushing alone can’t do. Rinsing can be done with either a dental rinse or just water.
Talk to Them about Dentistry
Start to talk about the dentist as if it’s just a trip to the shops. Make it a casual conversation, a part of everyday life. Alternatively you can also make their first visit out to be a milestone in their life, rewarded with a treat (not sweets!!).
If you talk about how they are only there for cleaning their teeth and preventing future problems and tell them that it will tickle they might be more receptive to going the first time. Another idea is to take them along with you to one of your visits (preferably one without the drill!)
Just before Their First Visit
A couple weeks before their first visit, there are a few things that you can do to help them realize what will be happening. Most of the time when there is fear, it’s due to the unknown. Once that anxiety is gone, or diminished, it should help the visit go more smoothly.
Here are a few things you can do:
Explain to them what a dentist does, from a pediatric dentist, to a cosmetic dentist or orthodontist, especially if they are a little older
Look for a pediatric dentist with a website, so you can also introduce your child to the dentist by showing them their photo. Kids can relate visually much easier than verbally
Find photos or videos online about a child’s first trip to the dentist. You might want to watch them first, to make sure there isn’t anything that would frighten your child
Go to the library to find books on kids going to the dentist for the first time and read them together
Keep up with the Routine
Once you have been to the dentist, make sure you keep up a regular routine by going twice a year. If you go once and don’t go back for a couple years, you will most likely have a rougher time of it again next time. Also, when the dentist can keep a closer eye on your child’s teeth, they can help ward off potential future problems, which really could lead to some scary moments in the dentist chair. When you go on a regular basis, you get to know the dentist and build up trust with them too. Trust goes a long way in relieving the fear.
The earlier you can also introduce your child to the dentist, the better. As soon as it all becomes routine, it will be similar to “back to school shopping”. Some kids might not enjoy it, but they certainly don’t have to fear it either.
About the Author: Back in 2003 Jason Munroe discovered the Internet. He has since learned how much the Internet can help him in his career as a freelance writer. Currently he is working on series of articles that are about dentistry for children, with the help of a Vancouver dentist and her website www.drdbird.com. Jason enjoys surfing the Internet to research for future projects, as well as good deals to share with his readers.