Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Children and adults alike may find a visit to the dentist a little daunting (or at the very least, strange.) It’s understandable to find the thought of latex gloves in your mouth and bright lights in your face a little unsettling. Follow these tips and make the experience relatively easier for your child.
Lead by example
Grove City Dental appreciates how anyone, of any age, may be a little apprehensive about a visit to the dentist. But by putting on a brave face for your child, you set the tone for a productive, calm visit. Consider bringing your child along to your next visit, even if they are not due for a check up. You are your child’s hero, so allowing them to tour the office and experience a visit where you were courageous sets the scene for their next visit.
Start dental visits early in life
Apart from the obvious health benefits, starting dental visits early in life indicates to your child that this is a totally normal experience in life (and it is!) Even if their first visit is simply an introduction to the office staff and a review of what to expect later, acclimating your child to the idea of regular teeth cleanings can help alleviate stress later on, especially if more advanced dental work is needed.
Let your child take (some) control
Imagine your child’s world: someone tells you what to eat for breakfast, if you’re allowed to go to the restroom during class, when to go to bed, and, of course, whether you go to the dentist. Return some autonomy to your child and give them some control over their visit. Let them pick their outfit or wear a special costume he or she would normally never get to wear in public. Encourage your child to listen for their name to be called and introduce themselves to our staff to return some control to their experience.
This may seem like the opposite of a good tactic, but bribery reinforces the idea that a visit to the dentist should be feared. Early normalization of the dentist (see tip #2!) can help alleviate the need for bribery. Have a gentle, calm conversation with your child about the necessity of dental care, but save the video games and sweets for another occasion.
Keep it casual
Overall, keep the experience casual. Keeping your discussions about the dentist lighthearted and informative is a great way to start. Despite seeming like a rare occurrence, there’s no need to dress up for a dental visit. We want to make sure your child is as comfortable as possible, so whatever clothes make them feel that way is fine by us!