20% of children between the ages of 5-11 have at least one tooth with a cavity. Preparing and teaching children proper dental hygiene and taking them to regular dental appointments is vital for their oral health. Do you know that you need to take your child to their first dentist visit, but you aren’t sure where to start?
Start with this how-to guide to prepare for your child’s first dental visit to ease any stress or anxiety.
Start the Preparation Early
The easy way to get your child familiar with dental care is to start early.
As soon as teeth begin to come in, you should start helping your child brush their teeth.
To make the transition to using a toothbrush easier for your child, you could start with finger brushing or using a silicone toothbrush before teeth start coming in.
Typically teeth begin to come in between 5 and 8 months. At this age, your child will need you to brush their teeth and gums with a soft toothbrush and a rice-sized amount of toothpaste.
Brush your child’s teeth in the morning and night to create the habit and routine of when to brush.
Find the Right Dentist
Finding the right dentist will make an incredible difference in the experience for your child’s first appointment. Find a reputable family dentist in Greensboro that you trust to care for your child’s dental needs.
There are many factors to consider to find the best dentist for your family.
Extent of Services
Choose a dentist that offers a variety of services like cleanings, cosmetic procedures, emergency availability, or implants.
Knowing your dentist has many options for care will make it easier to schedule family appointments ranging in need in one location.
Like with many other things reading reviews from others gives an inside look into the care team, the process for appointments, and overall quality.
Not every review is an accurate representation of the experience. If the general theme of the report is positive, it could be a dental office to consider for your family.
If your child is nervous about visiting the dentist, choosing a dentist with a safe and inviting atmosphere should be a key factor.
A child-friendly dentist will be well equipped to make the environment stress-free and rewarding for your child.
The inviting atmosphere should include the safety to ask all questions from you or your child to ensure comfort for both of you.
Unsure of the environment in the office? Ask if you can take a tour before your child’s appointment to know what to expect.
Is Your Dental Insurance Accepted?
Before the first dental appointment, check-in with the office to ensure your dental insurance is accepted. In-network dentists will have more options for your care plan while saving money.
Ask about your insurance coverage to determine what any out-of-pocket costs will be. It’s best to know as much upfront as possible to avoid surprise medical bills.
Get Excitement Going
Preparing your child for the dentist for the first time, you want to get the excitement level up.
Find books and watch videos that teach the process of a dental appointment while making it fun and exciting for your child. There are many options for stories to read with your child to help them understand what to expect while easing any nerves.
You should also encourage and praise your child for bravery in trying something new while caring for their body.
Another way to stir the excitement is the use of rewards. Try not to use treats as rewards. Instead of a treat, you can offer a trip to their favorite park after their appointment. You can also give them a prize such as a sticker or small toy that you can grab beforehand or on the way home.
Children love playing pretend. Make preparing for the dentist a fun experience by pretending to play dentist at home.
Have your child practice being the dentist for their dolls or stuffed animals. Talk through each step of the process with them as they perform dental services for their toys.
Role-playing going to the dentist is not only fun for children, but it gives them a better understanding of the process and gives them a sense of control over a new experience.
Try Bringing a Comfort Item
If your child is struggling with nerves and anxiety around their first dental visit, you can try allowing them to pick one comfort item to bring to their appointment.
Consider bringing a blanket, favorite doll, or stuffed animal to the appointment as a “friend” for your child to have helped them through the experience.
Ideally, this friend would be one your child used to practice dental care. Try to help your child to make the connection between their pretend play and the actual dental visit.
You can also use their comfort item as a way to help your child be brave. Try “your friend was brave when they went to their dentist appointment at home, maybe you can show him how you can be brave today!”
Making Your Child’s Dental Visit a Success
Teaching proper and consistent dental care for your young children will set them up for positive dental hygiene as they grow.
Choose the best dentist in NC to ensure high-quality care and a kid-friendly environment to make your child feel comfortable and excited.
Contact us today to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment! We look forward to meeting you.