When my twins turned 2 years old our doctor recommended that I schedule a dentist appointment for them. She also mentioned that I visit the dentist once every 6 months. In the past, I only went once a year. After I set up the appointment for my girls, I started discussing the upcoming dentist visit with them. It was a great help that one of their close friends had just visited the dentist for the first time and had a pleasant experience. Overall the trip went well, but I did learn a few lessons that I would like to share with you.
1. Schedule your child’s dental visits with a dental office that specializes in children’s teeth. I chose a family practice that I normally go to . The pediatric dentist only visits once per week, but the office is not cute, cuddly, or child friendly. It is fine for an adult, but nothing to lure your child into fun land. A pediatric dental office on the other hand will have created an atmosphere of excitement.
2. Make sure that you are there holding your child’s hand or holding your child. They need the familiar comfort of a parent. I let my kids go with their dad while I saw another dentist in the office so that I wouldn’t be there all day. Unfortunately, while I was having my dental check up, I could hear one of my daughters screaming.
3. Prepare your child for the visit by talking to him or her, reading your child a book about it, and easing their fears by introducing them to the Dentist as your friend (especially, if they have never met the dentist before). Children can fear things when they are not educated about it. Do a teeth coloring page and other activities that will educate and prepare them for the visit.
4. Encourage your child before the visit and increase their level of anticipation. You may also want to go over what the dentist will be doing with your child be he or she goes in. During the first visit, the process was very simple. The pediatrician took a look at their teeth, brushed it, rinsed their mouth with fluoride and answered any questions or concerns we had. If there is a problem or cavities present I am sure that more will probably be done during the visit.
5. Praise your child for being good during the visit. One of my daughters did excellent and she received a stuffed animal. My other daughter screamed and did not want to cooperate. She eventually did so in the end she received a sticker. Praise for both, but at different levels. I don’t recommend going overboard with the praise because you don’t want to them to expect a reward every time they do something you ask.