Properly preparing children for the dentist will help guarantee a successful visit. When talking to your child about his or her first dental visit, be careful how you phrase your discussion. Avoid using negative words that might create unnecessary dental anxiety, such as hurt, needles or drill. Instead, speak in general terms and remain positive -- after all, visiting the dentist keeps you feeling great, so why wouldn't you want to go? It's also important to lead by example -- when children see you visiting the dentist every six months, they'll be more likely to follow your lead.
During the appointment, a dental exam will be performed. What is the dentist looking for? Not only do dentists check for any signs of tooth decay, but they'll also check your child's bite, gums and other parts of the mouth to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. If necessary, the dentist or dental hygienist may perform a dental cleaning or fluoride treatment to fight the e"bad guysh" -- you may know them as cavities. The first dental visit is also a great time to ask questions and make sure you're on the right path with your child's oral hygiene routine. Before you know it, the appointment will be over, and your child will leave the office with a super smile!
Why So Young? Perhaps the most important aspect of a child's first dental visit is education, for both you and your child, says Dr. Carol Summerhays, a spokeswoman for the Academy of General Dentistry based in San Diego, Calif. The dentist will discuss proper cleaning, nutrition and the management of potentially adverse habits such as thumb-sucking, sugary snacks or inappropriate use of bottles or nursing.
Getting Ready for the Visit Should anything special be done to prepare for the first trip to the dentist? It depends on the child :– and the parent, says Dr. Summerhays. What we usually recommend is that the parents bring the child in with them on one of their cleaning appointments, or at least bring the child in for a visit before their first appointment, she says. This helps familiarize the children with the dental office and staff.