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How to Make Your Child’s First Dental Visit More Pleasant?

Starting dental checkups early is good for your child’s long-term oral health. Early visits can help children become comfortable with the dentist, instill good oral hygiene habits from a young age, and of course, prevent tooth decay. 

But for some parents, this might be easier said than done. It’s no secret young kids tend to be anxious about their first dental visit. While there is no specific data for Canada, 30 % of the 2 to 6-year-old children worldwide have dental fear and anxiety, which is almost one in every three kids.

Believe it or not, you can transform these worries into a positive experience with the right approach. In this post, we will tell you how to make your child’s first dental checkup an enjoyable experience.

Let’s get into it. 

 1. How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

There are a few things in mind when scheduling your child’s first dental visit. Here’s what you need to do:

Timing

Before you pick up your phone and call your child’s dentist, think about the timing. While the different associations have recommendations, we recommend scheduling your child’s first dental visit at  by age two and a half or earlier. Some associations advise that this visit should occur within six months after your baby’s first tooth appears. 

Educational Resources

Use children’s books to familiarise your little one with dental visits. Full of pictures and interactive graphics, these books can help your child understand what to expect during their visit. While we don’t have any favourites, you can try one of these popular books:

 Communication

Talk to your child about the dental appointment positively. 

Explain that the dentist is their friend who helps keep their teeth healthy and strong. Instead of using negative words like hurt or pain, use positive phrases like clean and strong. Tell them the dentist will count and clean their teeth, which may tickle a little. But keep this conversation simple – too many details can confuse your child.

2. What to Expect During the First Appointment

While every clinic has a unique approach to handling first visits, you can expect the dentist to do the following:

Introduction to the Office

Think of your child’s first dental visit as an informal meet and greet with the dentist. You can expect a friendly introduction to help them settle in. The staff will be friendly and welcoming to make your child feel as comfortable as possible. 

Tools and Equipment

Dentists use techniques like tell-show-do, which includes showing some tools they use and describing and showing what they do. This helps your child relax and understand how the dentist will clean their teeth. 

Engagement Techniques

Dentists use several engagement techniques to help your child relax. While some may ask them about their favourite cartoon, others may let them hold a small mirror. It all depends on your child’s age, comfort level, and dental anxiety. 

The Dental Exam

After your child settles in, the dentist will proceed with the first dental exam. This brief exam involves checking their teeth, gum line, bite, and jaw development. Dental cleaning may be necessary for children more than a year old. If your child has issues like underbite, overbite or crossbite, the dentist might recommend a suitable treatment. 

 3. How Will the Dentist Calm Down Your Child?

Keeping your child comfortable is the #1 priority during their first dental visit. The dentist may use one of the following techniques to help them calm down.

Child-Friendly Environment

Most dental offices are designed with children in mind. The colourful decor, play area, and friendly staff can make the environment inviting and less intimidating. Take your kid to the clinic half an hour before the appointment and let them settle in. You don’t have to put them in the dental chair directly.

Distractions

Many dentists use toys, books, and TVs or tablets to distract children during their first appointment. If your child has a favourite stuffed animal or toy, bring it with you. 

Gentle and Friendly Staff

Staff plays a critical role in keeping your child calm throughout the appointment. At Yonge Eglinton Dental, our staff are trained to work with kids. We use many gentle approaches to make your child feel at ease.

Rewards

After the appointment, your child may receive small rewards like stickers or toys. These rewards help your child see dental care in a positive light. They might help them be less anxious during the next visits. 

4. Parenting Tips for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

While the dentist will take the necessary care, you can work with them to make this experience as comfortable as possible for your child. Here’s what you can do: 

Stay Positive

Studies show that parents can pass on their anxiety to children. That means you need to stay calm and positive before and during the exam. This will help your young one feel safe and less anxious during their first visit.

Stay in the Room

Your presence is reassuring for your young one. Most dental clinics allow parents to be in the room during the exam. Bring your child’s favourite toy to help them relax.

Follow-Up

You might need a follow-up after the first visit, especially if the dentist discovers issues like tooth decay or crossbite. Talk to the dentist about the issue before heading home and schedule your next dentist appointment as soon as possible.

Keep Your Child’s Teeth in Excellent Shape

With the right approach, your child’s first dental appointment can be a fun and stress-free experience. It involves scheduling it at the right time, using educational resources, role-playing, and good communication. 

You can expect a warm welcome and a gentle exam from your dentist. If you need help getting your child ready for their first checkup, we will be happy to share a few pointers.At Yonge Eglinton Dental, we go the extra mile to keep your child’s teeth in top shape. Call  416-932-2222 or visit us online to book an appointment to schedule your child’s first dental appointment. 

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