5 tips for your child’s first visit to the paediatric dentist
Walking into a completely white room, sitting in front of all types of silver contraptions and devices and watching a complete stranger take one of them and move towards you with it can be very distressing experience for a kid if nobody has explained to them what a children’s dentist is.
You have a fundamental role to play in preventing your children’s first visit to the paediatric dentist from becoming a bad experience. But, as adults, who is going to tell us how to deal with our children’s first visit to the dentist?
Parenting is an enormous adventure that brings lots of challenges, but nobody tells us how to deal with them. For this reason, in today’s blog, we are going to give you some tips to help make the first trip to the paediatric dentist as positive and pleasant an experience as possible for everybody, and especially for your children.
When and why you should go to the paediatric dentist
Before outlining the keys to ensuring that the child’s first visit to the paediatric dentist is a success, we are going to recall at what age children should be brought to see the dentist and we will stress the importance of doing so.
If there are no previous oral problems, the Spanish Society of Paediatric Dentristy (SEOII) recommends going to the dentist when your baby’s teeth start to develop and appear. In other words, from the age of 12 months.
Young children grow a total of 20 teeth: 10 upper teeth and 10 lower ones. These teeth maintain their position until they fall out; they start to fall out sometime around the age of 6, and they are replaced by permanent teeth (adult teeth). During this period, it is very important to take your kids to the children’s dentist on a regular basis and as adults we need to take responsibility for their dental health and hygiene until they are able to do it for themselves.
We should not forget that certain oral diseases such as tooth decay in children can start at an early age and that the loss of milk teeth due to child tooth decay can cause facial malformations, poor positioning of teeth and defects in the development of your children’s permanent teeth. Moreover, there are certain congenital conditions, birth defects and disorders than can be corrected in childhood when the dental bones and tissue are still at the growth stage.
For these reasons, it is essential to have a paediatric dentist regularly assess the development of your children’s teeth in order to make sure that their future oral health is kept on the right path.
Some tips for your child’s first visit to the paediatric dentist
The following tips will help to ensure that your children are not afraid of the dentist:
Think ahead and choose a good time.When the children are still very small, it is best to choose a time when you think they will be more relaxed or calm. The worst time is when they are tired or hungry as they will be more irritated, and everything could have a greater effect on them. On the other hand, if the appointment coincides with a day that they are not feeling well, it is best to cancel the visit.
Convey a sense of tranquillity. If you are nervous, the child will notice, and you will transmit your nervousness to him or her. Take a deep breath and make the moment as normal as you can. Your attitude will not only condition this first visit, but the child’s future relationship with the dentist and their oral health as well.
Explain to the child what a dentist does and what a dental clinic is.Even if the child is very young, tell him or her where you are going so that they understand what they are going to find there and the reason why a stranger is going to look at their teeth. Also, when the time comes to go to the dentist try and get them to see him or her as a person who can take away the pain that their teeth are causing them and tell them that the dentist will help them to keep their teeth healthy.
Bring their favourite cuddly toy along or offer them support through videos and songs.Does the child have a doll that they bring with them wherever they go? Allow them to bring it along with them to the dentist. It will make them feel much better and, you can also tell them that their cuddly toy loves going to the dentist and looking after his teeth. You will also find many videos and songs on digital platforms and children’s programmes that will help children to lose their fear of doctors and to get used to them. Children can learn many things through audio-visual content of this nature, and it can even make going to the dentist a fun thing for the child.
Show them the importance of having a healthy mouth from a young age.The best way of normalising the situation and teaching them the importance of looking after the oral hygiene of all the family is by example. If your child has always seen you follow good hygiene habits and sees you brush your teeth and use dental floss on a regular basis and visit the dentist frequently, he or she will not view these activities as feared obligations but rather as a healthy part of your routine and it will then be much easier for the child to go to the dentist, “who looks after Mammy and Daddy’s teeth”.