Dentists recommend that when your child’s first tooth appears, this is the time when you should start considering paying them a visit. Somewhere between 6 months to 2 years old is the perfect time to bring your child for his first visit to the dentist. Your child’s first visit need not be a traumatic experience for him. Early preparation for his first dental appointment will help him overcome his fear. Initially though, try to see if your child has had a little background on dentists that could possibly make him scared to see one. At any rate, it is not a good idea to just take him to the dentist without first talking to him about it.
PREPARING FOR THE DENTIST
1. Find a children’s book that talks about a child such as him going on a first visit to the dentist. Your child will identify with the character and will eventually see that there is nothing to be scared of. Dentists are friends.
2. Talk about your own experience with the dentist. Tell him how the dentist has helped you feel better about a toothache or how he made your teeth all nice and white.
3. Take him with you during one of your dental appointments. This will familiarize him with the surroundings of a dentist’s office.
4. Before his actual dentist’s appointment, take him to his dentist and make an introduction. Ask his dentist to tour him around his office and show some interesting but not scary-looking instruments. He could even try the dental chair just for fun.
5. Build up the excitement over his first visit to the dentist. Make it seem like a really exciting and fun thing to do so he will look forward to it. Remind him how much fun he had when he played in the dental chair.
6. Ask him to pack some of his favorite toys for the visit. This will give him a little sense of security and adventure at the same time.
7. Play dentist with him and his toys before the day comes.
8. Make sure that his first visit is just to have his teeth checked and not because he has a toothache so he won’t associate pain with seeing the dentist. Hence, don’t delay the visit until he really has no choice but to go because of pain. Make his first memory of a dentist as something nice and fun.
9. Tell him that his dentist has something special for him after his teeth have been checked. Dentists normally have small treats for kids after their check-up. If your dentist doesn’t have any, just bring something along and ask your dentist to give it to him.
Preparing your child for his first appointment with the dentist will greatly take away any fear or apprehension he might have. Consequently, by making his first visit a happy experience, you will have erased any bad images he had of dentists. This will make future visits a relatively uneventful experience.