As a parent, you are ready to give away the whole world to grab a chance to watch your child cross a growth milestone. It could be his first smile or his first steps to walk on his own. Just like any other ‘first times’, your child’s first dental visit is equally important.
Wondering how to plan your child’s first dental visit? Let us ease it out for you. These are answers to a few common queries that parents come up with regarding the child’s dental visit-
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry acclaims that the first dental appointment should be planned soon after the child turns one or within six months of the appearance of the first tooth.
If your child has already crossed that age, do not worry as you are not alone. You can always plan the first visit at 2, 3, or 4 or when you feel that your child is ready for it.
Meanwhile, you can inculcate good oral hygiene habits in them by simple measures like wiping the gums with a soft moist cloth.
Children can sense your emotions from your voice so be careful with the way you talk to them and the words you choose to talk. Avoid using words like “pain”, “drilling” or “shot” as they may tend to believe that dental appointments can hurt them.
Stay calm and talk about the benefits of a clean and hygienic mouth. Patiently answer their questions and address their fears if any.
With the help of books, videos, or pictures explain what they can expect when they meet their ‘tooth doctor’.
It is advisable to schedule the first visit of a child during the morning hours as he/she will be fresh and energetic.
Generally, the child will be taken for an interesting tour of the dental office and meet the ever-supportive staff. The tour benefits the parents also as they get to know the staff well and be comfortable around them.
To make it more fascinating a small introduction to the dental equipment and tools will be given. Young children will be made to sit on the parent’s lap whereas older children can directly sit on the dental chair. The goal is to instil confidence in the child that there is nothing to worry about in a dental office.
Treatment procedures are always preferred in the second visit unless it is an emergency.
Though the first dental appointment can create mild apprehension for both parents and children, the good news is that it can be a fun-filled and memorable one. You should bear in mind that children learn a lot from their parents. Hence, practice good oral hygiene measures like brushing teeth twice a day and flossing at least once daily so that you become a role model for your children.