VISITING A PEDIATRIC dentist is an important part of keeping your child’s smile healthy. However, while it is easy for adults to understand the role the dentist plays in keeping those smiles healthy, a child doesn’t always know why it’s important to go to a strange place where an unfamiliar grown-up is going to look around in their mouth. That’s why it’s important to prepare your child for their first visit to your Westminster pediatric dentist ahead of time!
Dental Anxiety Is Common for Children and Adults
There are several reasons your child might be nervous about going to the dentist for the first time. New things are often scary. Sometimes their peers at school might tell them alarming stories, and occasionally older family members are guilty of deliberately scaring them. Children are also very observant, so if you have any dental fear yourself, they will pick up on that and think they should also be afraid.
Helping Your Child Look Forward to the Pediatric Dentist
No matter what is causing your child’s dental anxiety, there are plenty of ways you can help!
Start early. Ideally, the first dental visit should happen when the first tooth erupts and no later than 12 months of age. If dental visits begin early, your child will be able to build a trusting relationship with their pediatric dentist and grow up with a positive perspective on dental care that can last a lifetime.
• Play pretend! For younger children, the best way to explain something complicated or new can often include role play. You can play the part of the dentist and give them an idea of what to expect and why it can be fun rather than scary.
• Explain. Your child will be much happier if they know what’s going to happen ahead of time. If your child is old enough, explain a little about what their visit will be like. Try to avoid terminology such as “poke,” “pinch,” or “hurt,” which can create unnecessary anxiety for your child.
• Meet the dentist. One of the main sources of stress for your child is that the dentist is someone unfamiliar. Arranging a meet-and-greet ahead of time can prove very effective in making children more comfortable.The practice website is an alternative, as there are pictures of both the dentist and the office itself.
• Choose the best pediatric dentist you can find. You want one with years of experience working with young patients, whose office is kid-friendly, with fun waiting room activities and accommodations to make the visit as comfortable and relaxing as possible.
• Be there for them. All the information won’t make up for the comforting presence of an adult your child knows and loves, so be there for them as much as they need during their first few visits.
• Teach them about dental hygiene. Understanding the value of good oral hygiene and being proud of their healthy smiles will help your child understand why going to the dentist is important.
Our Team Can Help!
If you need help preparing your child for their first visit to the pediatric dentist, we’ve got your back. We want to ensure they have a happy, healthy smile for life, and we can work with you and your child to ensure their experience at the dentist is a good one.
If you live in or near Westminster and have any questions about what you can do to prepare for your child’s first visit, just let us know and we will be delighted to help! You can learn more about us by checking our business page, and make sure to get directions before heading to our Westminster pediatric dentist practice.
We can’t wait to meet you and your child!