Going to the dentist regularly is important for your oral health, and if you have kids, they need to start seeing the dentist within 6 months of cutting their first tooth. This means you could have a child sitting in a dentist's chair as young as a year old, and the experience can appear strange or even scary to a young child. If you have a toddler or older baby who is going to the dentist for the first time, there are ways you can prepare them for the visit so it's more positive all-around. Here are a few ways you can prepare your toddler for their first dentist appointment.
Take them to the dentist prior to their appointment
Your kids' dental practice should not have a problem with you bringing in your toddler to simply see the dental clinic and get familiar with it. Call the facility first to make sure they are not too busy, and explain that you want your toddler to see the dentist prior to their first appointment to help make their first impression a more positive, in control experience. Bring your child into the waiting room and let them play with books, toys, and see the decorations, and let them meet the receptionist. If you go to the dental clinic when the dentist or hygienists are not too busy, you may be able to take your toddler into an exam room where they can let their curiosity wander without fear. This can help prepare your toddler for their 'real' visit, since they will already know the facility and possibly feel less frightened going into an exam room for their own teeth.
Show them videos of kids at the dentist
With modern technology, you can find a video online for nearly anything. Locate a video of a young child going to the dentist to get their teeth cleaned, whether it's an animated tutorial or a home video a parent has posted online of their own child's experience. Your toddler can point and ask questions to you about what is going on while they watch, and you can excitedly explain to them who the dentist is and what they are doing. With your child seeing another kid at the dentist from their own home, they can feel more excited or at least curious about their own upcoming visit, especially if you make it sound like a 'big kid' adventure.
Going to the dentist for the first time may seem scary to some children. If you use these tools to help your own child get over their fears or apprehension, you may be able to help better prepare them for going to their own dentist appointment for the first time.