If you're like most parents, you want your child to have the best of everything — and this includes dental care. However, you probably don't exactly remember your first dental visit with any particular fondness and perhaps you even have extremely unpleasant memories of visiting the dentist as a child. Fortunately, advances in pediatric dentistry have made seeing a dentist less frightening for children, but it's nonetheless a new experience that may cause them to feel some anxiety, especially if they are the type who approaches unfamiliar situations with trepidation. Fortunately, strategies exist that will make your child's first dental visit go as smoothly as possible. The following are five of them.
Schedule the Appointment for the Morning
Children are far less likely to be cranky and irritable in the morning than in the afternoon, particularly if they're still at the stage where they need a nap. Scheduling your child's appointment with the dentist for mid-morning also gets it out of the way early in the day so that negative anticipation doesn't have a chance to simmer for hours before it's finally time for the appointment.
Have Your Child's Medical Records on Hand
The dentist will want to know your child's full medical history. This wasn't deemed necessary in the past, but modern dentists understand the connection between whole-body health and dental health. If you fail to have your child's medical records on hand, the dentist won't be able to perform a comprehensive examination and you may have to schedule another appointment.
Provide Your Child With a Short Explanation of What the Visit Will Entail
Fortunately, initial dental visits are invariably short and sweet unless extenuating circumstances exist that require immediate attention, such as broken or chipped teeth or severe tooth decay. The dentist will check to ensure that your child's teeth and gums are healthy, look for cavities, and may end the session with a gentle cleaning.
Keep Your Own Negative Feelings to Yourself
If you're like many people, you may harbor a bit of dental anxiety yourself. Keep in mind that children pick up on the feelings of their parents, so be mindful of the importance of appearing calm and positive while en route to the appointment as well as when you're in the waiting room with your child.
Plan a Pleasant Activity for Afterward
Having something fun to look forward to for after the appointment will help ease any anxiety your child may have concerning going to the dentist. Plan a trip to the zoo or another favorite place.
For more information, contact a children's dental care specialist in your area.