When should I bring my child for their first dentist visit?
More often than not, children present at the dentist when a dental problem arises, during which time the problems are getting worse, there could be pain, cavities that occurred over time. This delay in attending can be the start and also reinforce fear of going to the dentist and so they enter a vicious cycle in which any dental intervention can turn into a trauma. Also, the effects of not treating dental problems are reflected on the general long-term health.
Here are some tips to help your child to get over a dentist appointment.
Play as the dentist with your child, to familiarized with dental instruments and the simple procedures as consult or check-up, fillings, temporary teeth extractions. Don’t give to him too many details about them, you can only explain, in general, what happens at the dentist in simple procedures.
Choose a cheerful dentist who likes children, talk to friends and get recommendation for someone who the child might be amused by, or a gentle, patient person who understands the child and with whom he or she can build an emotional, trust-based connection.
When you explain to your child that she/he is going to have an appointment at the dentist, avoid using words associated with pain like injection or bleeding. Just assure her/him that you will be there with them and you will support them all the time during the appointment. It’s a bit like meeting the tooth fairy, only we don’t have wings but we will give them a little reward at the end.
As parents, our children feel protected when we are with them and more confident, that’s why we have an extra chair in the surgery for you to attend throughout the visit and then they know that they are protected and safe and feeling reassured. And in this case, the dentist will be there too to care for the teeth and maintain them healthy. The same way that you are there for her/him all the time, I will do the same for his teeth, my job is to help to protect them against disease, helping them to stronger and healthier.
Top Tip: While it is a great idea for you to attend with your child we don’t recommend the other way around in that we don’t recommend you bring your child to accompany you at your appointment with the dentist, as this might create fear as you can’t generally speak while the dentist is working in your mouth and your child might hear words that they feel are scary or see the needle for an anesthetic and therefore feel anxious, so best that you bring your child for just a check-up every 6 months. This will prevent the incipient cavities and they will become custom to going regularly to the dentist.
Article written by Dr. Simona Bugaciu, dentist at Dental Tech Group. For Appointments and Information 01 455 1866 www.dentaltech.ie
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