As noted in my previous blog entry, I often see kids under the age of 1, per the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and to ensure that our children get a good start with healthy teeth. No matter what age or circumstance, parents often ask us if we can help them make their child’s first pediatric dental experience more pleasant. Here are some tips that may help:
- Schedule an appointment time when your child is alert and well rested. Children 5 years and younger tend to be more cooperative earlier in the day. Avoid scheduling during a child’s routine nap or meal time.
- Explain to your child before the visit that the dentist will count his/her teeth and make sure they are strong and healthy. You are encouraged to role play with your child. Pretend with your child as they lie on a flat surface as they would in a dental chair.
- Because most pediatric dentists have fun pictures on their website, show them to your child as this may excite them about the experience.
- Read your child a story about a character that has a positive experience with the dentist. There are several children’s books available about “First time visits to the Dentist” that can be found in any local bookstore or online.
- Please use positive language around your child when discussing his/her dental visit. Refrain from using words that may cause unnecessary fear such as hurt, pull, drill, shot, etc. Do not let others tell your child negative stories about dental visits and avoid letting your child know if you feel anxious about going to the dentist. Children are more intuitive than we give them credit for! An anxious parent can cause unnecessary anxiety for the child.
- If your child is 3 or older and he/she is scheduled for their first dental cleaning, it can be helpful to get your child an electric toothbrush so that he/she becomes accustomed to the sound and feeling of vibration on their teeth.
- Be a good role model for your child by brushing twice a day, flossing every night, eating healthy, and visiting the dentist regularly. Children often want to copy their parents at a young age!
For more information: www.childrensdentistry.com