As lovely as we know our dental team are, we know that many children find the prospect of going to the dentist overwhelming, intimidating, and unfortunately, quite upsetting. We get it. Having someone new poke around your mouth doesn’t sound like fun, especially when most young children are fearful of strangers. Official Public Health England do however state that children should get their first dental check-up as soon as their teeth start to appear, at around six months old, although approximately 80% of children haven’t visited a dentist by the time they’re two. We can’t stress enough the importance of starting off your children’s dental hygiene as soon as possible, and therefore, we provide some tips for how to prepare them for their first visit to the dentist.
Tip 1: Examine Your Child At Home First.
Your children will be more comfortable having their teeth checked by a dentist if they’ve already had a simulated experience at home. Set 5 minutes aside every day for 1 week before their first visit to peer into their mouth. We know this can be difficult with very young children, especially if they have a tendency to bite, so we recommend the ‘knee-to-knee’ method: Sit facing another adult with your knees touching and lay the baby’s or child’s head in the other adult’s lap to have a good look. You can also use a small, soft brush to simulate some of the tools that a dentist will use during the appointment.
Tip 2: Let Your Child Come To Your Appointment.
Seeing their big brave mummy or daddy handle their appointment like a pro will make them realise that there’s nothing to be afraid of, and that the dentist is only there to help them. Moreover, bringing your child to your appointment will get them familiar with the environment and the staff, making the first time that they visit for themselves less nerver-racking. Allowing them to bring a toy with them can also help to ease their concerns.
Tip 3: Talk. Read. Communicate.
We recommend talking to your child about their first appointment. Springing it up on them is not going to help matters, and will likely result in tantrums and distrust. Try talking them through what the appointment will involve and answer any questions that they may have. Visiting your local library for some age-appropriate books about the dentist and oral hygiene in general is also a good idea, and emphasise the benefits that these books tell you both. Your child’s dentist will make their teeth happy, healthy and shiny.
Tip 4: On The Way To Their First Visit, Calm Their Nerves With Fun Games.
Especially useful with children aged 4+, try creating a fun game out of the trip. See which of you can count the most red cars on the way, the most pedestrians or the most dogs, letting your child win and promising a small prize after the dental visit to put them in a good mood for the appointment. Even if the appointment doesn’t go swimmingly, the promised reward will put a smile back on their face in no time.
If you know that deep down that it’s time to start taking charge of your child’s oral health, then why not give Parkfield Dental a try? Within a friendly and welcoming environment, our dentists provide superb care to all patients that enter our doors, regardless of their age. To find out more about what we could do for you, call us today on 0161 327 0817.