Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Fear of dentists is a global, worldwide phenomenon. Studies show that more than 40% of the world’s population is terrified of going to the dentist, and could even neglect the pain in their teeth to avoid that harrowed visit.
Unfortunately, that fear is mostly caused by a traumatic visit to a dentist, and that most frequently occurs during childhood. Your child’s dental visit is of the utmost importance. It is sort of a “make it or break it” situation. Meaning the visit could be smooth and pleasant, shaping all of the upcoming visits throughout their life, or would be so traumatic that they would dread the dentist forever.
It is essential for you as a parent to select a suitable dentist for your child’s first visit (either a pediatric dentist or a family dentist). You may also want to explain the dentist to your child before their appointment. Dr. Taher Dhoon, your local family dentist in Greely, CO, shares a few tips parents can use before your child’s first dental visit.
Set the Mood:
For children, the setup and the hype is everything. If you describe the visit to the dentist as a journey to the playground, your child will perceive it as such. Show them how you are excited to go to the dentist, and having pretty smiles or clean teeth is so much fun and they will follow your example.
Avoid Fear-Inducing Words:
We asked our friend, Dr. Matt Laurich, a pediatric dentist in Livonia, MI, to share some tips parents can use before they take their child to their first dental visit. Dr. Laurich says that one of the biggest mistakes parents can make when introducing the dental office into their lives is using fear-inducing words. Some parents use doctor’s visit (particularly dentists) as a fear-inducing mechanism. By saying lines like, “if you don’t behave, the dentist will give you a shot.” In this case, you’re not shaping your chid’s attitude, you’re scarring them for life. It would be very difficult for even the most experienced dentists to put a child with this amount of fear at ease.
This part is done by both the parents and the dental team. Your child needs to understand the importance of oral hygiene, and that a visit to the dentist is one part of that oral hygiene regimen. Educate your child on how to use their toothbrush. While doing so, you can tell them that your dentist is the one who taught you how to brush your teeth, that way they’ll be very excited to meet the dentist later.
You can make dental visits more pleasant by giving them a reward after going to the dentist. For example, “A visit to the dentist means a visit to the arcade!” You can carry out the reward system throughout their entire childhood. That way, they will always link the visit to the dentist with a trip to the arcade, making the experience fun and unique.
That is all you can do as a parent, and the rest falls in the hands of your dentist. During that first visit, your Greeley dentist will probably do very little, if any, dental work. Your Greeley dentist will likely spend this time to get to know your child, which will make the visit as short and as sweet as possible. You can expect a few questions about school, about their home and their oral hygiene habits. There may be cleaning and polishing of the teeth. If treatment is needed, it would start in the following visits, so have patience and trust your Greeley dentist.