Nobody really enjoys going to the dentist, and the experience can be downright terrifying for a small child. However, there are ways to make your child's first dental appointment a lot easier, both for your child and for yourself. Here are a few simple tips to try.
Work with a pediatric dentist
Many general dentists will work with small children, but they may not be as accustomed to doing so as a dentist who specializes in pediatrics. A pediatric dentist will not only be well practiced in the demeanor necessary to get children through their fears, but their office will also be better set up to accommodate little ones. The mere presence of toys, bright colors on the walls, and age-appropriate posters can make a pediatric dentist office a much more calming setting for your child's first appointment.
Schedule the appointment when you have plenty of time
Don't make the appointment on a day when you absolutely have to be at work at a certain time or you have a lot of other stressful obligations. If you're stressed out and worried about your schedule, this stress will carry though to your child. You'll also be less equipped to deal with your child's complaints and expressions of fear. Many dentist's offices are open on weekends. Try scheduling your appointment for a quiet Saturday so you know you'll be relaxed and in a good mood.
Talk to your child about the dentist first
Walking into a room of strange equipment and unfamiliar people will be less stressful if your child has at least some idea of what to expect. A few days before the dentist appointment, talk to your child about the experience. Tell them that a doctor is going to look at their teeth and make sure they are healthy. Don't mention pain or anything else unpleasant. If you make going to the dentist out to be an adventure, your child will approach it that way, too. There are a lot of educational books and videos about dentistry that you can also show your child.
Bring along some favorite books and toys
Sometimes the most stressful part of that first dentist appointment can be spending time in the waiting room. You'll be a bit anxious, and that anxiety can rub off on your child. Though there will probably be books and games in the waiting room, bringing along a few of your own can make your child feel more comfortable. Having something familiar to play with may take his or her mind off the upcoming visit during the waiting process.