Going to the dentist for the first time as a child can be both stressful and intimidating. After all, there is the fear of the unknown and the dread of having a stranger meddle in your mouth – neither of which are fun to face. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prepare your child for their first dental exam and help take away some of their anxiety. Try one or more of the following options:
Schedule an Initial Meeting
Scheduling an initial meeting with the dentist is one of the most important things you can do to make sure that your child is prepared for their first dental exam. At the meeting, your little one will have an opportunity to get to know their new dentist and learn a little about what to expect when they come back for the actual exam.
The dentist can show your child how they'll inspect their teeth and gums and give them an overview of how some of the basic tools that will be used work. And you will have an opportunity to get some expert tips and tricks from the dentist that will help you better prepare your child for their first dental exam.
Practice the Basics at Home
After meeting with the dentist and learning a little about what will happen at your child's dental examination, it's a good idea to do a little practicing at home during the days leading up to the exam. You can make a game out of it and practice inspecting each other's teeth so your child gets used to holding their mouth open for a long period of time and starts to feel comfortable with someone digging around in their mouth. If you have other children, get them in on the action and allow them to take turns playing the dentist. Make the experience fun so fun is associated with an actual visit to the dentist's office in your child's mind.
Make the Exam Day Fun
Another way to prep your child for their first dental exam is to start the day off with some fun but educational experiences. Consider heading to the library and spending the morning reading books about visiting the dentist. Or take a trip to the store to shop for dental hygiene products and let your child pick out a few special items to use at home. After the dental exam, head to the park to get some energy out and end the day on a high note. You'll be setting the stage for a positive experience every time your child sees the dentist in the future.