Preparing your child for his first dental visit ahead of time can encourage good oral health that lasts a lifetime. At Family Dentistry of Toms River, our experienced and friendly staff will work to ensure that your child’s first dental visit goes off without a hitch.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “First visit by first birthday.” Although one may seem young, some children can get cavities as early as age two. When it comes to fighting tooth decay, prevention is the best medicine. Having your child’s mouth checked out at an early age is one of the best ways you can insure you’re taking optimum care of your children’s teeth. At your child’s first dental appointment you will also learn:
It is normal for some toddlers to have anxiety about medical and dental checkups. Be patient and let your child know that you are listening to his concerns. To help alleviate anxiety, here are a few strategies to try before and during the appointment:
Use positive language: Tell your child that a dentist is a doctor who helps you build healthy, strong teeth. Give your child a general idea about what will happen: “You’ll have to open your mouth wide so the dentist can look at your teeth!”, but avoid getting into too much technical detail. This may confuse your child and cause more anxiety.
Read: Picture books about visiting the dentist can help your child better understand what his or her first visit will be like.
Play: Encourage your toddler to “play dentist” with you, a stuffed animal or doll — open your mouth wide, have him look inside, and pretend to polish teeth.
Be prepared: Bring toys, books or other distractions to ease your child’s mind while he or she is waiting.
Offer a reward: Help your toddler stay focused on the positive by offering a trip to the park or a favorite restaurant after the appointment.
Stay relaxed: Children can be very perceptive. If you have your own anxiety about going to the dentist, keep it under wraps. Set a calm, cheerful tone that will keep the experience positive.
Cheer your child on: Congratulate your child whenever he or she is compliant and helpful. Stay calm and be supportive if your child refuses to cooperate. Even if he kicks and screams, it’s nothing to be embarrassed or angry about — experienced family dentists have seen it all.
Dr. Shariff and the staff at Family Dentistry of Toms River are committed to providing compassionate, quality care that will keep you smiling. For more information about taking care of your children’s teeth or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!