Your child’s first dental visit doesn’t have to be frightening. Preparing your child for their pediatric dentistry appointment is all about information and positivity.
With these tips and suggestions, we know you can help make your child’s first experience with dentistry a positive one!
Understand Pediatric Dentistry
Choosing specific Pediatric Dentists is essential when you are bringing your child to their first dental visit. You need someone who is not only familiar with childrens’ teeth but also childrens’ demeanor.
The bedside manner for a child is very different than that of an adult. Specifically, choose a pediatric dentistry location over a general dentist just as you would likely choose a pediatrician over another doctor for your baby.
Check if your dentist will make an appointment for your child around six months. Your dentist can also make sure that everything is growing correctly and guide you on the best ways to prevent cavities.
Usually, around age two your dentist will want to start doing yearly cleanings. Having a pediatric dentist who knows how to tell when your child is anxious will make this much easier. They will be quick, gentle, and always make sure your child is comfortable and knows what’s going on.
Pediatric dentists also usually have little prizes and rewards for your child to congratulate them for being so good and going a wonderful job brushing their teeth.
Watch a Video
Kids love TV, and they absorb so much more of the content than we realize. Check out their favorite shows and see if they have an episode about going to the dentist. One of our favorites from PBS is Daniel Tiger Gets His Teeth Cleaned.
Daniel goes through all the steps and explains what he’s nervous about. And in the end, he has a great experience and can’t wait to go again!
Other shows that we know have dentist episodes are Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Caillou, and the all-time favorite Barney.
The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist is quite possible our favorite children’s book about going to the dentist. Brother Bear and Sister Bear will soon be two of your children’s favorite characters and your child will be excited to go to the dentist just like they did!
There are many other books that cover a trip to the dentist. Check out your local library or bookstore. Reading this book as a bedtime book for a few weeks before your child’s appointment will enhance their excitement for going to the dentist.
Practice going to the dentist! You can be the dentist and your child can pretend to bring their stuffy in for a cleaning. Next, your child can be the dentist.
Pretend play can give them an idea of what exactly will happen at their appointment and make them more comfortable.
If you have older children you can ask them to help amp up the enthusiasm for the dentist. They can assure the little one that the dentist is fun! The older child can also help and involve the little one in pretend play games about going to the dentist.
Your positivity and excitement will extend to your kids. If you seem nervous you will make your child nervous.
Try to be very positive about the situation and even while you’re there. Assure your child that this is a good thing and that the dentist just needs to make sure their teeth are in tip-top shape!
Talk about the dentist often. The more you talk about something the more comfortable your child will be with it. If they know that everyone goes to the dentist and this is normal and nothing to be afraid of, they will be less scared to go.
After Your Visit
When the dentist tells your child that their teeth look great be sure to congratulate your little one! Make a big deal out of it.
When you get in the car to leave, talk about what just happened. There were no shots, it wasn’t scary at all. The dentist gave your child a brand new toothbrush and maybe some stickers.
Maybe take them out for a celebratory snack. Their first dental visit is a big deal, help them keep it a good memory to remind them off before their next visit.
Sedation Dentistry For Kids
Some children will struggle with the anxiety of a dental visit or have an intense gag reflex. For this, sedation dentistry for children may need to be an option.
Sedation dentistry is more common than you think, but not every dentist offers it. It is important that you know if your dentist offers sedation in case it is ever necessary.
We offer two types of sedation for our patients. Nitrous oxide sedation is commonly referred to as laughing gas. This is a completely safe and effective way to calm your child’s anxiety or lessen their gag reflex.
Oral conscious sedation is used to lessen extreme anxiety and in children with special needs who may not cooperate well. This is also used when children need extensive dental work. We monitor the child’s vitals while they are on the medication.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit
To have an ideal first dental visit with an extremely qualified Pediatric Dentistry practice, contact us.
With our extensive experience and compassion, we know we are a great choice for your kids’ teeth. We can’t wait to meet you and your child!