Recently, I took my kiddos to visit a pediatric dentist. I was pretty nervous about how they would react since past visits have not been great and let’s face it, no one likes going to the dentist. However, since I know the importance of good oral health I have made it a point for my children to see a dentist as soon as it was age appropriate.
I took my son for his first dentist visit when he was about 1.5 years old. I was lucky because a friend of mine is a dentist (she is also a fellow blogger, check her out at drtonidds.com for all things dental) and was happy to see him. It was awesome because he was already familiar with her and she was super patient with him and didn’t push him or was too forceful.
Despite her efforts, this was still a difficult visit for him (and me) because he was super apprehensive and wouldn’t even let her brush his teeth! He fought her through every step of the examination. However, he did love watching cartoons on the big TV. He did much better during his follow up appointment but he was still a little apprehensive.
So when it came time for my daughter to have her first dental visit, I wanted to give a pediatric dentist office a shot. I had heard great things about a particular dentist office from local moms and wanted to see how my children would respond.
To my surprise, my kiddos had a great experience and loved their visit to the pediatric dentist! The office and staff members were terrific! From the moment we walked in, my children were greeted warmly, were allowed to explore and play and were encouraged to ask questions.
My son’s reaction was better than my daughter’s (but of course he has more experience with going to the dentist). This was my daughter’s first visit and while she was a little apprehensive she enjoyed the office and had fun laughing and playing with the dentist. Our visit was a huge success!
I believe early dental visits will set the tone for how you view going to the dentist throughout life. I still remember dentist visits from my childhood and my first fillings. So I am happy that I took the time and necessary steps to ensure they had a positive experience.
Check out the video below to see how their visit went!
Watch RJ have fun at the dentist!
Keep reading for some tips on how to make your child’s first dentist visit stress-free.
1) Find a pediatric dentist or at least a dentist that is kid friendly.
Do your research and ask your pediatrician or other moms for recommendations. Call ahead or even stop by the office to assess if you think your kiddos will feel comfortable there. Here are some things to consider:
- Are the admin staff members warm and friendly?
- Are there toys or a play area in the lobby/waiting area?
- Are there kid-friendly tables and chairs?
- Ask what percentage of their patients are children? What ages?
- Will you be able to accompany your child when they are seen by the dentist? It is common practice for some dentist offices to require parents to stay in the waiting room when their child is being seen. Decide what you are comfortable with and find a dentist that is line with your desires.
2) Prepare, preprare, prepare!
Prior to the dental visit we talked about what was to be expected and even watched an informative and captivating video. Ask your dentist if they have any videos on their website or if they have any video that they recommend for preparing children to visit the dentist. You can always search YouTube as well.
3) Pump up the excitement.
I made it super exciting for my little ones and talked about how awesome it is going to be to visit the dentist. We also discussed how cool it would be to be apart of the “no cavity club”! This helped them to view the visit in a positive light and allowed them to anticipate the visit with enthusiasm rather than anxiety. After watching the video and talking about what to expect, the kids were so excited about the upcoming visit and kept asking “are we going to the dentist today mommy?” and would say things like “I’m so excited about going to the dentist!”
4) Set up an expectation ahead a time (first, then).
If you are still worried about your child’s reaction to going to the dentist, you can try offering an incentive for them to look forward to. For example, first the dentist is going to look at your teeth, then you will get to choose something from the treasure box (most dentists have a treasure box or stickers or something….if not you can bring along a special treat that you know your child would look forward to after the visit).
I hope you found these tips helpful.
Has your child visited the dentist? What was their reaction? What tips do you have on making a trip to the dentist successful. Comment below. I want to here from you!