Preparing for Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
It is truly amazing how many people we see each year that suffer from ‘odontophobia,’ or simply ‘fear of the dentist.’ There are grown men and women who would prefer to live in pain than see the dentist to have their tooth fixed. Frequently, this fear of the dentist arises from a negative experience at a young age. Below we will discuss a few ways to prepare your kids for a positive first experience at the dentist.
We believe it is important that you discuss their first visit to the dentist as an exciting or positive experience. Kids pick up on how their parents feel about going to the dentist, and if it is presented in a positive light it can make a world of difference. If they have an older sibling that already does well, we have found it helpful for the younger child to observe how easy it was for their brother or sister.
But at what age should they first visit the dentist? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see a dentist when their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday. If you feel your son or daughter can handle that, it certainly is never a bad idea. However, many parents choose to wait until their child is around 2 or 3, close to the time all their baby teeth have erupted.
It is also important to think about what time of the day may work best for your child. You may find they are more likely to do well early in the day or after an afternoon nap. You obviously know your kids better than we do, so it is important to think about what time of the day will contribute to a positive dental experience.
Our goal is to make their first visit as easy and fun as possible. Each child is a little different and may require some different modifications of the traditional plan. But it is important you work with and communicate with your dentist to create an optimal environment for their first dental visit.