So it’s time to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment. At this point, your child probably has little, if any idea of what a dentist is or what they do. Because of how new it is to them and how reliant they are on you, all the preparation falls to you.
Knowing a few things before you schedule the appointment can make a huge difference in how well it goes.
What the Visit Entails
It helps to know what to expect before you schedule your child’s first dental appointment. You might think you know what to expect from your appointments, but a first appointment isn’t always the same. This appointment is mostly about getting your child familiar with the dentist.
They may perform an exam and a gentle cleaning, but that is largely dependent on the child’s age and how they’re doing. Ideally, your child’s first appointment will take place within 6 months of their first birthday or their first tooth growing in.
How to Calm Their Fears
Until your child is sitting in the chair for their appointment, there’s a good chance that any fears are yours, or at least come from you. Remember, they don’t have any bad memories to be fearful of. Children often take their cues on how to feel about something from their parents, so try to be calm and peaceful.
That said, your child may be anxious or fearful if they are currently experiencing dental pain. In that case, talk to the dentist about how your child is feeling, or even if they’re just prone to anxiety. Letting the dentist know about your child’s anxiety can help them know what to do.
When to Schedule the Appointment
New things can be stressful, and no one handles stress well when they’re hungry or tired. Before you schedule your child’s first dental appointment, think about what time you should schedule it. Shoot for a time when your child won’t be hungry or tired. Earlier in the morning after they’ve eaten or after they’ve had a nap and a snack could be good options. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to clean their teeth before the appointment!
Your child’s first dental appointment sets the tone for the rest of their dental appointments. By preparing in advance, you give everyone involved their best chance at a positive experience. Try scheduling the appointment with a pediatric dentist if at all possible. These dentists are experts when it comes to dental care for children and they are pros at navigating first appointments.
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