We all know going to the dentist can be a little scary even for some adults. For little kids, there is also the added fear of the unknown. As a parent, we all want the best for our children including good oral health and building lifelong habits of regular dental visits. Here are some steps to prepare your child for their first dental visit to ensure it runs smoothly:
Kids can easily pick up cues of dental anxiety from their parents. Try to talk positively about your dentist and dental visits in the past. When accompanying your child to the dental clinic, try to keep calm and appear happy.
Make an appointment at a time of the day when your child is usually in a good mood and not during their mealtimes or sleeping times. This is especially the case for younger kids.
We do not recommend you talking to your child about going to the dentist too far in advance. One or two days before the visit is sufficient. Kids do not like surprises. Prepare them by reading books such as “Elmo visits the Dentist”. You can tell them how the dental chair goes up and down, the dentist uses a mirror and count all their teeth. Please do not tell your child “it will not hurt” or “just be brave and you will be fine”. Because these phrases will imply there will be pain involved. Please also do not mention needles or injections to your child, even if you think they will need it.
If your child has a favourite toy, bring it with you to your first appointment. It will help your child feel safe and secure.
We generally recommend kids come in for their first dental visit around the age of 2 to 2 ½. At Caulfield South Dental Surgery, we will do a free check up for preschool aged kids when they come in with the parents for their check up and clean. We understand the importance of building up trust and rapport with a young patient and it is only possible if the all-important first visit is painless and atraumatic for them. For this reason, please do not delay your child’s dental visit or wait until they are in pain. Contact us on 0395 237 530 to schedule a time.