Few habits are as important in life as developing good dental habits. It needs to start at an early age. The first trip to the dentist can be scary for a small child. So, how do you prep a child to get ready for a first trip to the dentist? Promise a toy? Tell them it will be painless? You need to be careful about promises, because you’re setting up habits for as long as they live under your roof. On the other hand, think how scary it has to be for a child to hear strange noises while a stranger is putting cold, metal instruments in his or her mouth.
We came up with a few tips that will hopefully get your and your child off to a great dental start!
- Start early! As soon as your child has a tooth, it’s a good idea to start building the relationship with the dentist.
- Choose your words carefully. Anything that sounds like a shot or pain is going to cause anxiety in a small child. Stress the positive, healthy side of going to the dentist.
- Read a good book. Prepare for the visit by reading your child one of the books about going to the dentist. They’re written especially for kids and feature some of their favorite characters like’s SpongeBob™ and Dora the Explorer™.
- Skip the mother-daughter visit to the dentist. Although some people do it, try to not take a child along on your dental appointment, at least not to show them what it’s like. Chances are you have more anxiety than they do and that can rub off.
- Don’t make promises. It’s easy to tell a child that if they’re good, they’ll get something in return like candy or a present. But that sets a precedent you may regret later. Plus, candy isn’t good for their teeth, so it’s a poor reward.
- Kids get it. If you can make the trip to the dentist relate, kids catch on early. Healthy teeth allow them to enjoy the foods they like. They also keep their smile pretty. Those are simple, but important lessons that kids will understand.
Tips for the First Trip to the Dentist
Finding a kid-friendly or family dentist is an important step, too. These dentists are used to working with young patients and often have exam rooms set up with features that kids will like. They’ve seen behavioral issues before and have positive ways of dealing with them.
At Jones & Zirker Family Dentistry, we welcome the entire family to our practice. From play areas to toys, we believe in making sure even the youngest members of your family have a good experience. If you’d like to set up a consultation, please call us at 319-338-9219.