Your joy over your child’s first tooth is quickly replaced with dread: you know that inevitable first trip to a dentist is going to happen soon. There are some simple things you can do to allay your toddler’s (and your own) fear of the chair. If you follow these tips, both of you may come to regard a dentist visit no more stressful than the trip to the corner store.
Do your homework
Choosing a dentist may be as simple as using the one who has treated your family over the year, which is a good idea if he or she treats children. If not, choosing a pediatric dentist is a good idea, as they have been trained to communicate with little ones, and will offer the requisite toys and books in the waiting room.
Quick and painless
The first checkup is usually very short, informal, and involves very little treatment. If your child is young, you may be asked to hold them, or they may request that you stay in the waiting room to help the child adjust to the staff and environment on their own. The dentist will check their mouth, including an examination of the gums, jaw and bite. The dentist will talk about good oral hygiene habits, and issues like teething or thumb sucking. This is the time to ask questions, so come prepared.
Banish the monsters
Eliminate fear of the visit by reading picture books about it in advance with your child. Use positive language and avoid technical terms which will only confuse your toddler. Be sure to pack toys and treats. Monitor your own stress level; kids can pick up on it. Be a good coach along the way, encouraging your child to “open real wide” or “that’s good!” whenever appropriate.
It’s over, so now what? Most dentists recommend a visit every six months for the first couple of years, unless there are problems which must be addressed. Don’t forget to make the second appointment before you head out of the door!
Looking for a family-friendly dentist in Dallas, Texas? Dallas Dental Wellness goes that extra step to make sure that your child feels completely at home every time they come in for a check-up or treatment.
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