Typically, dentists advise parents to schedule their child's first dental visit around the age of twelve months, or within six months of their first teeth emerging. However, it's a common practice for many parents to delay this inaugural trip to the dentist until their child reaches the age of six or seven. The reluctance to initiate dental visits for preschoolers and older children often stems from the natural apprehension kids have toward unfamiliar experiences. Nevertheless, with the right approach, your child's maiden voyage to the dentist can be a smooth and stress-free affair. Below we’ll explore effective strategies for preparing your children for their first dental appointment, irrespective of their age.
Choose a Great Dentist
First things first, you’ll want to choose a reputable pediatric dentist in Memphis for your child’s first dental visit. There’s no shortage of pediatric dentists, but you’ll want the best for the best results. A great dentist has solid credentials, years of experience, and is great with children. Online reviews are a great platform to learn about the dentists you have in mind, but you can always ask your friends and neighbors to point you in the right direction.
Prepare Your Child For The Dentist
It’s normal for kids’ imaginations to run wild when they don’t know what to expect. Most kids imagine all sorts of atrocities and torturous equipment in the dentist’s office. This is further reinforced by the mainstream media’s misconceptions about the dentists' office in cartoons and other visual media. You can help calm their nerves by reading to them storybooks about dentists and dental care. While at it, read in a cheerful, positive, and reassuring tone to help dispel their anxiety.
Speak Positively About the Dentist's Office
Talk to them about the dentist's office in a positive light. Speak of all the exciting equipment like X-rays that let them see straight to the bones. Stay away from negative topics like needles and drills. You could also recount your first dentist experience cheerfully, and they’ll be less apprehensive about their upcoming dental visit.
Take Comfort Items With You
Comfort items are specific items that your child feels comfortable with. It could be their favorite toy, blanket, pillow, or book. Taking these items to you with the dentist will distract your child and help them feel at ease in unfamiliar territory. You can let your dentist know about these items so they can accommodate them into their first visit and future sessions.
Pick an Appropriate Time for the Appointment
You’ll want to schedule the appointment at a time most convenient for you and your child. Early morning appointments work best since your child will be fresh and eager for the day ahead. Avoid appointments in the evening, late afternoon, or nap time, when your kid is likely groggy and cranky.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment Today!
Your child’s first dental experience should be pleasant to build a solid foundation for future visits. The tips above will help adequately prepare your child for their first dentist visit, but they’ll be ineffectual if you don’t find the right dentist for the job. Our dentists here at Aviation Pediatric Dental Associates are gentle, cheerful, loving, and a favorite for kids all across Memphis. Contact us today and we’ll schedule your little one’s first dental appointment immediately.