Regular dental checkup visits are a routine matter for adults, but for the kids, it can be an unfamiliar and even a scary experience. But parents have a unique opportunity to make their child’s first dental visit a enjoyable experience so that they aren’t afraid of the dentist.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents bring their kids for their first checkup no later than their first birthday. This not only ensures that your child develops good dental habits during their years, but this also helps protect them from dental problems.
If it’s time for your child’s first visit to Pearly Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, here are 5 ways to help ease your child's mind and make their first pediatric dentistry appointment a great experience.
1. Teach them the Importance of Good Oral Health
Start early! Teach your little ones the importance of good oral health during their early years. Not only can they begin to realize that healthy teeth and gums will help them look better, early care will help ensure strong and healthy teeth. At the same time, they should also understand can happen if they don’t look after their teeth. Use educational books, short and kid-friendly videos, and the help of a good pediatric dentist to instruct children on best practices. Once they understand the importance of good oral health, teach them that regular dental visits can help avoid these problems.
2. “Show Me your Smile!”
It is common for children to get nervous or apprehensive in unfamiliar environments. Before you take your child for their first dental visit, it would be a good idea to explain to them what they can expect during the appointment. For example, you could play a game with them in which you and your child take turns becoming the dentist and then check the other person’s teeth. This can also be done on your child’s favorite stuffed toy or animal. Books and educational videos are helpful here too!
3. Let them Bring their Favorite Toy
Children feel more comfortable around things they love. Let your child know that they can bring their favorite toy to their dentist appointment. Another good option is to ask the dentist to play their favorite movie or cartoon. In this way, your child can begin to feel more comfortable.
4. Reward them for their Bravery
Another great way to motivate your child for the dentist’s appointment is to let them know that they will be entitled to a treat - such as a new toy car, a coloring book, or anything they like - once they are done with their appointment, you can also take them for a picnic or hiking once the checkup is done.
5. Make it an Office Tour!
An unfamiliar place can make your child apprehensive, more so if they are visiting the dentist. Therefore, it is better to arrange a dentist’s office tour for them at the Pearly Smiles Pediatric Dentistry a few days before they actually visit as a patient. This will allow them to familiarize themselves with the environment, and when they actually visit for their appointment, they will be much for cooperative and confident.
At Pearly Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we believe that learning good dental habits early on will go a long way in keeping them healthy--and helping them maintain a rock star smile throughout life. We highly encourage parents to bring their kids for checkups from an early age so we can keep them happy, smiling, and healthy!