Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be very traumatic for both your child and you. Some children are extremely anxious with any new situation and others simply do not like to be poked and prodded. We as parents need to do anything in our power to make the first trip to the dentist a positive experience for everyone.
What YOU Can Do
- Shop around for a dentist you like. Ask your friends which dentists they use and why. What is it they like and dislike about this dental office? You can even visit a few different offices and see if they seem friendly and welcoming. Is there a dentist that has the same favorite sports team or something else in common with your child?
- Always set a positive example. This starts long before your child is ready to go to the dentist. We can set a positive example in terms of dentistry not only by practicing proper dental hygiene, but by paying attention to how we speak about the dentist. Never say that you hate going to the dentist or complain about pain after visiting the dentist. Your child could possibly overhear these conversations and remember how you were uncomfortable and in return express unnecessary anxieties.
What Your CHILD Can Do
Allowing your child to have some control of the situation can make them feel “grown up” and may result in a more positive situation.
- Allow them to choose their outfit for the day. This would be a great chance for them to wear that costume they always want to wear out of the house. Letting them go to the dentist as Superman or as a Disney Princess may work wonders.
- If the dentist has a television, let them choose the station.
- Let them pick a stuffed animal to bring with them for comfort. Possibly the dentist will examine the stuffed animal first!
- You can read books about going to the dentist. Two great choices are The Berenstain Bears visit the Dentist and Just Going to the Dentist: Golden Look-look Book.
- You can also visit the office together for a non-invasive visit. If you call the dentist office, they will usually set this up for first timers. This way they can see the office, the tools, and meet the dentist. This is a great time to allow them to ask questions and to become familiar with their surroundings.
- The other thing you can do is to let them know that you will be with them through the whole experience. As brave as children may seem, they almost always want their mom or dad to be by their side during situations that may make them a little uneasy. Some children may want you to hold their hand while or others (like mine) like you to be on the other side of the room, but always where they can see you.
The key to a successful first trip to the dentist is teamwork. You and your child together will make the best team to work through different strategies to making going to the dentist something that becomes an easy lifelong habit. The easier the better because it is something that we should do twice a year, every year!
Meet the Author
Aaron Schulman has worked closely with dentists in different professional positions, and currently helps 5th Avenue Acquisitions assist dentists when it is time to sell a dental practice. He is happily married to Jen, and they have 3 wonderful girls (and they all have healthy teeth!). Their 2 youngest are getting ready for their first visit to the dentist, so he read up on this topic and had some other people share their ideas and research on making a child’s first dental visit a positive foundation for future visits.
Check It Out
Twoothy T™ Temporary Tattoos and Twooth® Fairy Temporary Tattoos are a fun way to reward that first trip to the dentist. Way cooler than stickers and longer lasting, they’ll remind your child of a positive experience at the dentist! They’re also great for rewarding good dental hygiene habits to help make them a healthy habit. 24 tattoos in a package only $4.99!
Share Your Thoughts or Advice
Liked Aaron’s article? Learn something new? Any tips to share? Post them in the comments below!
Antoinette aka The Twooth Fairy
Antoinette on Google+