Taking kids to the dentist can be a difficult experience for parents. Often, rather than dealing with the issue, parents will put it off, thinking and hoping that dental care is not necessary for young kids. However, it’s important to start your kids with the dentist early on. You’ll avoid what could be expensive repairs later, plus you’ll get them used to going so it won’t be such a difficult event when they’re older.
Here are some ways to help make your child’s visit to the dentist a happy one.
-Teach Good Dental Hygiene at Home
You should start before your baby even has teeth. Clean his or her mouth gently with a soft cloth after every meal. Your child will become used to someone cleaning their mouth and it will seem natural. It’s important that you be a good example to your child, too. Kids learn by example, so let them watch you brush your teeth. As your child’s teeth come in, you’ll want to brush them gently with a soft toothbrush. Make it a fun time by singing a special song or making a game of it. This way your child will view teeth brushing time favorably, and soon your little child will be happily brushing his or her own teeth. Maestro Smiles
-Carefully Choose a Dentist for Your Child
Give some serious thought to who you want for your kid’s dentist. That first visit can make or break a kid’s attitude toward going to the dentist for the rest of his or her life. Make sure that the dentist you choose is good with kids and knows how to make your child’s visit a pleasant experience. There are dentists who specialize in children, call pediatric dentists, as well as family dentists who can make the entire family’s visit a pleasant event.
Whichever type of dentist you choose, though, make certain that they take care of the dental needs of a lot of children and have a good reputation with kids. Dentists who are good with kids will often have a special area set up for them, where they can play with toys in a comfortable environment. This type of setup will give your child a positive attitude toward going to the dentist.
-Prepare Your Child Before the Visit
You’ll want to make your child aware of what will happen at the dentist’s office. The best way to do this is to role-play; you be the dentist and your child will play the part of the patient. What you do will depend upon what you anticipate the dentist will need to do with your child, but make it a fun and interesting time.
First of all, have your child lay back on the couch or a chair. Place a napkin or towel around your child’s neck. Then gently brush his or her teeth. To make it more fun, next switch roles and let your child be the dentist and brush your teeth. If you expect the dentist to take x-rays of your child’s teeth, explain how a big machine takes pictures just like a big camera. Assure your child that this does not hurt, just like getting a picture taken is painless. You may want to have your child open his or her mouth while you pretend to take photos of the teeth.
Before you head off for your first dental visit, make sure you haven’t forgotten your child’s favorite toy or blanket. This can provide a touch of familiarity and a lot of comfort to a young child in a new situation.
After the visit, your dentist will most likely have small toys or stickers for kids to choose from as a reward. In addition, you may want to take your child on a favorite fun activity afterward. This way your child will connect going to the dentist with a pleasant time.