A strong oral health foundation begins early. Beginning dental appointments at a young age helps to ensure your child’s mouth and gums are healthy and their teeth develop properly. This is also a great habit to get in to and it is good to get your child used to a visit to the dentist from a young age too. It can be ideal for them in years to come.
At six months old, a first dental visit may seem a very sudden time to visit the dentist. But these visits can provide many benefits for your child’s teeth in the long-term. A trip to the dentist can advise parents on how to clean their children’s teeth, offer preventative care and treat any dental issues sooner rather than later. In addition to the oral health benefits, early dental visits help kids feel more comfortable from a very young age.
Try and prepare your child for their first visit
Children are well known to get nervous when they don’t know what to expect. Try to make them feel comfortable about sitting in a dental chair. Before they visit the dentist, talk to your child about why everyone should visit the dentist. Also explain to them as to how dentists help. Let them know what to expect. Raise the key point the dentist will look inside their mouth and ensure that they keep their teeth clean and strong. A bit of understanding may make them realise why this is a worthwhile visit.
Choose a good time to go
Try to book your child’s first dental appointment when they are usually in a good mood. Also try to do so when they are also attentive. The best time for younger children tends to be in the mornings. Try to avoid later appointments for their first few visits. Later in the day, children are often tired. This in turn may impact how it goes during their first visit to the dentist. Tired children may become a bit moody. This can enhance feelings of dental anxiety. For older children, early afternoon appointments may work better. From this, look to try to schedule their dental appointment at a time when they will be in their best, most cooperative mood.
Ensure your child is well fed and rested pre-appointment
Like when you may have a tired child, hungry children may also be moody and less cooperative. Feed your child a small snack of some sort before you visit the dentist to keep them from feeling hungry. Children who are fed and well-rested for their first dental appointment are much more likely to have pleasant and straightforward experience.
It is good if your child has a toy to distract them
To help your child feel better about their first dental visit, it is a good idea if they also bring a toy along. Having a teddy bear or similar may make them more comfortable during the visit. It can distract them in a very effective manner. It may be an idea to encourage them to brush their toy’s teeth as well as their own.
As a parent, try and keep calm
Your child will pick up on your mood. Staying calm in the lead up / build up to the dental appointment. This can help your child feel more at ease during their first visit. Children can sense when one of their parents feels anxious about the dentist. From this, it may be more calming for the child to visit the dentist with the parent who is less fearful of the dentist.