Helping your child develop a healthy, happy relationship with your family dentist can lead to a lifetime of positive experiences caring for their teeth. At Lillybrook Dental, we understand that many people are a bit apprehensive about the first visit. What age should children see a dentist? What should I tell my child before we visit the dentist? What happens at the first appointment? Here we answer some common questions and give you some tips to help your child prepare for the dentist.
- 1. Start as early as possible
It’s never too early to bring your child to the dentist. Seeing mum or dad, or brothers and sisters having regular check ups helps to show your child that caring for your teeth and visiting the dentist is a normal part of life. When it comes to making an appointment specifically for your child, we generally recommend check up as soon as your child’s teeth start to appear. We can provide advice around feeding habits and foods that are best for your baby’s or toddler’s teeth.
- 2. Keep calm and positive
Before your child’s appointment, it’s best to keep things light. Let your child know they are visiting the dentist and give them some idea about what to expect – without overwhelming them with too much detail. You can say things like, “The dentist will say hello, help you sit in the special chair and then count your growing teeth!” It helps to arrive early for your appointments so everybody has time to settle in.
- 3. Choose your words wisely
Dentists are very careful about how we speak to children. Some dental terms and technology can be confusing, especially for the very young. At Lillybrook Dental, we have lots of special ways to describe what we’re doing. We take pictures of teeth. We help make teeth healthy and strong. We tickle teeth with our super-fast toothbrush. Sometimes we use happy gas or sleepy juice to put teeth to sleep.
People often say things like, “Oh, don’t worry, it won’t hurt a bit!” While they’re trying to helpful, they’ve just introduced the idea that ‘worry’ and ‘hurt’ are things that happen at the dentist. Choosing your words wisely will help children develop more positive associations.
- 4. Be a role model
We understand that some adults get anxious when it’s their turn to visit the dentist. You may be one of them. Children are very good at picking up on anxiety levels of people around them; so if you get nervous and speak in worried terms about the dentist, they’ll know. Try to be as relaxed and calm as possible about your visits to the dentist, especially around children. It might help you to feel better and will certainly rub off on them.
- 5. Visit every six months
Already had your child’s first appointment? Well done and thanks for visiting Lillybrook Dental! We hope it was a positive experience for everyone and your child learned that visiting the dentist can be fun! The best way to get to know your dentist – and help your child have healthy teeth for life – is to keep coming back. We recommend regular check ups every six months so we can see how your child’s beautiful teeth are growing and to help you care for them in the best way possible.
We look forward to seeing you again soon in our Kallangur dental practice. If you have any questions about your child’s teeth or family dentistry, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Lillybrook Dental.