Taking your child to the dentist's office for the first time is a big milestone in his or her young life. An early visit to the dentist and regular checkups throughout childhood will get your kid used to the idea of going through a daily oral care routine that will hopefully lead to good dental health as an adult. But while you may be thinking about the long term, your child understandably might have some reservations about their first appointment and all of those metal and sharp-looking tools the dentist wants to put in their mouth.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to get your child into the right mindset ahead of their first dentist appointment.
Show Instead of Tell
If this is your child's first-ever appointment, they are probably still at the age where they look up to Mom and Dad and maybe even mimic the things that you do. You can use this fact to your advantage by allowing your child to see your own oral care routine. Take them into the bathroom with you and declare that's it's family brushing time.
Assist your child with brushing their teeth and maybe even ask them to open their mouth so you can examine their teeth like a dentist would. Then, when it's time for the first appointment, just tell your child that you are going to have Family Brushing Time with the dentist and they have all kinds of additional brushes and other neat tools they can use to make sure the child's teeth are in good shape.
Don't Make It Sound Scary
When you tell your child it's time to go to the dentist for the first time, don't say anything negative like, "I hope you don't have any cavities." As was noted above, your child should ideally think this is just a person that is going to help them with their teeth, not yell at them for doing something wrong. If your child does have a cavity or another problem, let the dentist take the lead in how you explain it to your child.
Let Them Meet the Dentist Ahead of Time
One of the benefits of going to a family dentist is you might be able to bring your child with you for your own appointment before it's time to go to theirs. This will allow your child to get used to the surroundings and maybe the dentist or the front office team can even say hello, which should put your child more at ease when it's time to go for their own check-up.