Are you the parent of a young child? Are you worried about their dental health and are wondering how to make their first visit to the dentist an enjoyable one? Many adults dislike having a dentist look into their mouths, so it should come as no surprise that this might frighten your young child. Here are some tips to help make your child's first dental visit a more pleasant experience:
Visit the office before the appointment: Dental offices can smell strange to your child and have strange noises that your child hasn't experienced before. When making an appointment with your local family dentistry office, ask if it's okay for you and your child to come and sit in the lobby a day or two before the appointment itself. If you explain that you want to get your child used to the office so that they don't get scared or start crying before the appointment, the office will likely approve.
For this pre-visit visit, make sure to bring along snacks and your child's favorite toy. While eating may not be allowed in the office itself, the snacks can be given to your child once you leave. Stay at the office for approximately half an hour or so, playing quietly with your child and giving him or her ample opportunity to adjust to the strange location. On the day of the appointment, the location will be more familiar to your child and he or she will be less anxious as a result.
Play dentist at home: Hopefully, you're already brushing your child's teeth at least before bed. But before taking your child to visit the local family dentistry office, start playing a new "game" with them. Have contests with him or her to see whether you or they can keep your mouth open the longest. Take turns brushing each other's teeth, even when it's not tooth brushing time, to get him or her used to having someone poke around in his or her mouth. Lift your child up in front of a mirror and have him or her count the teeth in his or her mouth.
Explain things to your child: If your child is very young, he or she might not be able to understand any explanations. However, if you have a young toddler, then they should be able to understand at least basic explanations. You can tell him or her that you're going to meet someone who will look at teeth. If the dentist at your local family dentistry office, like the one found at http://www.neufamilydental.com, is amenable, you can ask them to look briefly in your mouth, to show your child exactly what will be happening. If the dentist is very nice, he or she may even allow your child to peer into his or her mouth before proceeding with the dental exam. If your child knows the basics of what's going on, he or she is much less likely to be frightened by the experience.