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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shyamala Peesapati

6 Easy Ways to Prepare a Child for the First Dental Appointment.



Although operative dentistry may be perfect,

the appointment is a failure if the child departs in tears.

-McElroy (1895)



Congratulations on being an amazing parent!

We’re so happy to know that you have taken the first step to gift your child with the brightest smile. Preparing a child for the first dental visit can be a challenging task. Understanding the child’s fear, identifying the cause of fear, and addressing it go a long way in making the child have a pleasant experience at the dentist’s office.


Being an amazing parent, you must be wondering with the question ‘How?’.

How exactly to prepare your child so that he is less anxious in the dentist’s office?

What can you even do to make your child understand what actually happens during the first visit? If speaking doesn’t help, what other options are available to educate your child?


Stick around to figure out answers to all these questions.


Before we dive in, let us understand an important statistic.


What Is the Minimum Age of the Child for the First Dental Visit in a Tertiary Care Hospital in South India?


A recent study by Dave et al reported that only 4.7% of children have their first dental visit in 3 years.


That being said, there is still hope at the end of the tunnel. By creating awareness with the help of super amazing and concerned parents like you, the sky is the limit.


In this blog post, we will talk about,

  1. When should you take your child for the first dental appointment?

  2. Why is it really necessary?

  3. 6 easy ways you can prepare your child for the first dental appointment.

  4. Conclusion.

When Should You Take Your Child for the First Dental Appointment?


The golden rule of thumb is to see the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth coming.

Ideally by the 1st birthday. Before blowing the candles for your child’s birthday, make sure to knock at the dentist’s door!


Why Is It Necessary?


It is of utmost importance that parents are aware of these dental-related problems that frequently occur in children.


Baby bottle decay.


Nursing bottle caries is tooth decay that is caused by the baby bottle, leaving it in the child’s mouth for longer times.


Leaving the baby bottle in the child’s mouth all night hoping it would act like a pacifier? That might severely damage your child’s oral hygiene. Talk to us, we would lovvvee to educate you more about this.


Dental caries.


Have you ever noticed those tiny black or brown holes in your child’s teeth?

Those are dental caries, meaning they are tiny holes or cavities in your child’s teeth.


Teething.


Your child may sometimes have unbearable pain during teething. They might also lose weight and might have difficulty eating. Did you know about these simple, effective, and easy ways you can manage pain during teething?


Finger-sucking habits.


Allowing the baby to suck their thumb can lead to improper alignment of teeth. Talk to us about the frequency, intensity, and duration of thumb sucking. How it can be corrected and what might possibly happen if there is no early intervention?


Overall dental health and how to maintain the same.


Simply put, the best way to treat a disease is to prevent it as dental problems, like crowding of teeth, improper alignment of teeth, and tongue thrusting can be prevented and easily treated by early intervention.


How to Prepare Your Child for the First Dental Appointment?


1) Modeling.


Never take your child to the dentist without preparing the child for the same. Let your child know who a dentist is. Educate your child by modeling!


It is always a great idea if your child sees you getting treated by the same dentist. You might as well visit the dentist for a professional tooth cleaning or a regular consultation first. This ensures winning the child’s trust initially. The child will be familiar with the dental clinic and the team of doctors.


To add on, your child sees you being cooperative with the dentist and can imbibe the same too!


2) Turn on the Videos Please!


Educating the child about the importance of having healthy teeth is important.

Make your child watch videos of “Peppa Pig Visits The Dentist”.


It’s undeniably important that you educate the child without adding an element of fear!


3) Dental Toys, the Next Time!


Several dental toys are available in the market today. Go and have a look at it right away.


Why don’t you gift your child something like this? This dental toy set would be a brilliant idea if the child gets to feel the instruments that are used in the dental clinic. Touching them, and holding the instruments in the hand makes the child feel safe. The child will understand that these aren’t sharp enough to hurt.


4) Have That Knack for Storytelling! Long, Long Ago…!


Use teeth and dental health as a theme to create stories and educate your child.

Bedtime stories regularly will definitely have a profound impact on the overall dental treatment!


5) Read, Talk, and Role Play!


Tell your daughter about the 5 stars on the hand that you can give to your daughter for behaving well at the dentist’s office.


6) Talk to Your Child With Positive Affirmations.


Avoid using the word “injections” because that might invoke an unnecessary fear in the child. The child might also generalize white coats and doctors to be fearful. We do not want that by any means!


Bonus Tip:

Make sure that your child has a secure attachment style. This can not only help with dental treatment but can also go a long way in shaping the child’s personality!




What Has to Be Done on the Day of the Dental Treatment?

  • Repeat the positive affirmations.

  • Schedule a morning appointment with the dentist.

  • Make sure that your child is alert and fresh.

  • Have a healthy breakfast.

  • Carry your child’s favorite toy to the dental clinic.

  • Remind your child about the possible gift that you would give after the treatment.

  • Be calm and trust your doctor.

  • Always carry a handkerchief.

  • Use the baby's diaper.

  • Carry a water bottle.

Conclusion


Though there is enough said, every child is special!


It’s always necessary to let the dentist know about your child’s medical history.

Know about the possible triggers that your child has. It’s not as hard as you think it to be. Remember, we got this!


You have taken the first step toward your child’s dental health.

Now, there’s absolutely no turning back!


Speak to our dentist today.

Want to book an appointment to know about how you can take care of your child’s dental health?

Click here right away!




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