Are you wondering whether your child should start going to the dentist regularly? You’re not alone! Many parents worry about when to plan that first dental visit, but the answer is far more simple than you’d expect. Dentists recommend scheduling an appointment within 6 months of the appearance of the first tooth and no later than a year after. If your child is older than this, don’t worry. It’s never too late to make your child’s first dental appointment.
That being said, planning your child’s first dental appointment can be stressful. Your child will have fears and feelings of nervousness, so putting them at ease should be a top priority. Before your child’s first dental appointment, consider taking the following proactive measures to prepare your child for the experience.
Remember: when you create healthy habits early on, you’re paving the road for your child to practice healthy dental habits for the rest of their life!
Schedule an Office Tour
Choose a top-rated dental office that you trust. Simply Beautiful Smiles works with 17 private offices, giving you access to a network of top-notch dentists. All our offices employ highly experienced staff members that are upbeat, caring, and compassionate. Whether you’re still deciding on an office, or have already picked one out, ask to schedule a tour before making your appointment. Bring your child along so they can experience the office and exam room firsthand. They’ll also have a chance to meet the staff as well as the dentist. This strategy will help develop your child’s expectations of what a trip to the dentist’s entails.
Dental-Themed Books & TV Shows
You know all those shows your child loves watching? Their favorite characters probably have a book or episode dedicated to visiting the dentist. If your child sees their favorite characters completing a trip to the dentist, they’re more likely to get excited about their first visit. We live in a world where media is always readily available, making it easy to expose your child to dental-related storylines that highlight the importance of a oral health as well as the fact that a trip to the dentist is never as terrifying as you might think. Here are a few books and shows that may help settle your child’s nerves:
- The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss
- Dora the Explorer: Show Me Your Smile by Christine Ricci
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Peppa Pig – “Peppa’s Pearly Whites”
- Arthur – “Arthur’s Tooth”
- Bubble Guppies – “A Tooth on the Looth”
Keep a Positive Attitude
Children mimic adult behaviors. They’re very sensitive and perceptive to the attitudes and energies of those around them. If you are nervous for your child, chances are they’ll be nervous too. Maintain a positive and relaxed exterior, no matter how anxious you may on the inside. Rather than using big words like ‘x-rays’ or ‘machines,’ focus on the positive aspects of the process. Use words like ‘strong,’ ‘healthy teeth,’ ‘fun chair,’ etc. If you are happy and confident, chances are, your child will be too.
Bring Along Comfort Items
Arrive early to avoid rushing around and compounding your stress. If your child has a favorite blanket, toy, or stuffed animal, bring it along. We all benefit from a familiar source of comfort, and this could make all the difference in the world.
Plan for a Simple Reward
Toddlers and kids love the simple life. Whether it’s ice cream, a new coloring book, or a trip to the playground. Before your child’s first dental visit, promise to reward a well-behaved, successful visit. They’re more likely to remain calm and focused if there’s a “light at the end of the tunnel.” It will also create a great mental distraction to make it through the visit if they’re having a difficult time.
Reinforcing Dental Hygiene with Simply Beautiful Smiles
Those adorable baby smiles don’t last forever! Your toddler’s new pearly whites deserve the best quality treatment, and Simply Beautiful Smiles is here to help you schedule your appointment. Remember to reinforce the importance of visiting the dentist and paint each visit as an adventure. Your child will be more relaxed with your guidance and support. With the right preparedness, your child’s first trip to the dentist can be a pleasant one.