Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be scary. Maybe you're going to see a new dentist, your child is young enough that they don't remember their previous visit or it's your kid's first dental visit altogether.
As a parent, you obviously want to do anything you can to ensure that it's a positive experience, but how? Get prepared! With a little preparation, your child will ace their first visit to the dentist.
One of the biggest measures you can take in preparing your child for the dentist is to get educated. By doing a little research and calling your dentist’s office to inquire about the process, you can educate your child. Depending on your level of commitment, you may even practice the process with him or her. At any rate, the more you work with your child, the more you increase the chances that your child will be receptive to the idea of visiting the dentist.
Without a doubt, children love doing things they consider fun. Whether they are going to school or taking a ride in your car, a positive attitude will make any activity in their life enjoyable. And that’s the way you have to spin going to the dentist—make it fun! Each day they brush, floss and rinse their teeth is an opportunity for you to make it exciting, which will inevitably make going to the dentist a positive experience.
When it comes to children, most behave when they are in an environment they are familiar with. With that in mind, the meet and greet is important when it comes to having a positive experience at your child’s first dental appointment. You can take your child to the dentist prior to their appointment so that they become familiar with their new dentist. When you go, introduce them to the dentist and show them around so that they will be more comfortable during their appointment. This is especially helpful if your child is younger (it's recommended that they first visit a dentist within six months of getting their first tooth).
A good dentist will probably also be willing to answer any questions your older child may have.
Your child relies on your to protect him or her, and that doesn’t stop simply because they are at the dentist. If you feel they are not comfortable where they are, feel free to accompany them in the examination room. Most dentists welcome this because it helps them give your child the care they need.
You might also consider reading this article for adults about overcoming dental fears to see if you can repurpose some of that advice for your child as appropriate.