Are you wondering how to prepare your child or toddler for their first trip to the Dentist? Or maybe you want to help your child get over their fear of the Dentist.
It wasn’t long ago that people emitted a small groan at the thought of a trip to the Dentist. Sometimes we see those negative feelings passed down to kids, sometimes without the parents even realising it.
The great news is that times have changed. Dentistry has come a long way in a short time and there’s no need for your child to be scared of the Dentist!
We’ve got Dogtor Bruce the therapy dog, Netflix and noise-cancelling headphones to make yours, and your child’s visit, plain sailing.
And that’s the message we’d love you to teach your children.
So what’s the best way to prepare your kids for their trip to the dentist?
Here are our top tips:
Choose the right words
How you talk about teeth and the dentist will make a huge impact on your child when they’re due for a visit.
For example, when you’re brushing teeth only use positive words and keep it light hearted and fun, such as ‘we’ve got to get the sugar bugs off so we can keep enjoying our treats’. You can set a timer to make brushing a game and it’s a good idea to put a mirror at your child’s height so they can watch while they brush.
Words to avoid like the plague
It’s easy to think you never use negative words but it’s easier than you think to say something like ‘it won’t hurt’ or ‘the pain won’t last long’.
At WDC we say ‘NOOOOO’ to any negative words, especially ‘hurt’ or pain’!
Here are some things you might accidentally say that we definitely recommend avoiding:
‘My teeth are terrible’
‘I hate the dentist’
‘Hopefully you don’t have dad’s bad teeth’
‘if you don’t behave I’ll take you to the Dentist’ (Please don’t ever use the dentist as a threat! We’re not the baddies, honest.)
Here are some words we say a big ‘hey yeah’ to:
‘We’re going to get our teeth counted’
‘I wonder how many teeth you’ve got?’
‘Superheros have super strong, healthy teeth’
‘Let’s go visit our friends at Warragul Dental Care’
Start visits early
Once you start going to the Dentist it just becomes part of your little one’s routine, like going to school or tidying up toys when they’ve finished playing (maybe that last one was a bit optimistic!).
We recommend bringing your child in for their first visit when their first tooth appears or when they’re 12 months old, whichever happens first.
It’s better to get them used to the sights and smells of the Dentist before they have an accident or chipped tooth so when they do come in they’ll know what to expect. That’ll make it easier and more stress-free for you too.
Make the first trip fun
As soon as you think your child is ready, bring them in for a visit.
We’ll take the first appointment really slowly; we might just show them the room and let them have a ride in the chair without looking in their mouth. Our main aim is to introduce them to the team and make them feel comfortable and secure. Who knows, maybe next time they’ll let Barry count their teeth.
Take it at your child’s pace
If you child doesn’t want us to look in their mouth it’s best if you don’t force it or tell them they have to do it. We prefer to take our time and wait until they’re ready.
We’ve got lots of fun tricks up our sleeve to make the visit enjoyable, including Dogtor Bruce our therapy dog, Netflix showing all the kid’s shows, a treasure box, a toy corner in the patient lounge and Barry, our mega-smiling helper with his huge smile.
Teeth are F.U.N
Just as it’s fun to keep our bodies active and healthy, we think keeping teeth clean and healthy can be pretty good fun too. Maybe try counting your teeth together using a stick, or playing pretend dentists with toys.
More than anything, we want your kids to grow up pain-free and with teeth doing what they oughta be do – chomping, smiling and laughing.
Come and meet the team
If you’ve got any questions or are ready to bring your child in for their first visit, give us a call on 5623 5588.
Make sure you let us know it’s your child’s first visit so we can make sure the team are ready for our little VIP’s. We promise to make it lots of fun!