Take it from a Weston Dentist with nearly 30 years of experience providing dental care for kids; your child’s first dental visit is an important event that will influence her or his oral health for the rest of their lives. Getting it right the first time is far easier than trying to correct any negative perception a child might develop about a “trip to the dentist.”
“Getting it right” starts with a kid’s parents. The world of a small child revolves around the home because that’s where mom and dad live, that’s where he or she feels safe, and that’s where they know they can satisfy their basic needs for food, attention and love. Small kids trust their parents and usually try to emulate them.
It’s important to use that trust to prep a child for their first experience at the dental office.
The Role of the Parent and the Role of the Dentist
The primary responsibility for having a successful first visit belongs to the dentist. He or she needs to provide the parents with the information needed to prepare the child in a way that helps to eliminate the anxiety that children feel with any new experience. At our Weston dental office I often recommend:
- Make a game out of counting teeth. Start this at least 6 months before the exam. You count the child’s teeth with your fingers and then let the child count yours. Do this on a fairly regular basis to get the child accustomed to having fingers in their mouth touching teeth.
- When it’s time for the parent to have an exam, tell the child that the dentist is going to “count” the parent’s teeth to make sure they are safe and healthy. Take the child on the appointment and introduce him or her to the staff and the dentist. This visit becomes the child’s “first experience” with the dentist and it is a positive one. When it’s time for the child to get their own exam they will be going to have their teeth counted just like mom and dad do.
- The dentist will do little more than a quick exam of the child’s teeth and gums. The idea of this first “real” visit s to build trust. A good pediatric dentist understands that at this stage psychology is just as important as any treatment.
Starting out correctly puts a positive spin on oral health and that’s exceptionally important in building good oral hygiene habits that will follow them the rest of their lives.
If you have a toddler ready for a dental exam, call our dental office in Weston and speak with a friendly technician on how to start preparing your kid for their first dentist visit.