The child’s first visit to the dentist does not have to mean stress, fear and crying – as long as it is properly handled and the child is well prepared. We have compiled a set of proven tips that will help parents gently introduce their children to the world of dental examinations.
The first checkup should take place between the ages of 2 and 3, when children can cooperate with the dentist: they understand and are able to follow instructions. Before that, it is worth visiting a dentist when the child is about 1 year old, to find out how to proceed during teething.
Do not postpone the first visit until the child complains of toothache. At that point, the child will probably need treatment, which might cause stress and negative attitude towards future visits. Early prevention allows you to familiarise your child with the office and the dentist. This way, the child will come to the dentist not only without fear, but even with a smile.
Often, parents are very nervous about their child’s first visit to the dentist, fearing the child’s reaction. It works like a self-fulfilling prophecy: when children feel their parents’ anxiety, they become anxious themselves. That is why it is best to be positive about the visit and prepare your child for it before going to the office.
At DenticaCenter, we recommend a 2-step preparation of the child for the first real visit to the dentist. The first step takes place at home, and the second step at the clinic – in the form of an adaptation visit.
It is a good idea to evoke positive associations with the dentist even before the visit. The best way to do this is to play patient and dentist at home – an environment where children feel comfortable with their favorite toys. This way, a visit to a real dentist can be treated as a continuation of the game.
We always invite our little patients to an adaptation visit, during which the child meets the dentist, gets used to the office, chair and other equipment. There is no treatment during such a meeting, the dentist only talks about the teeth and dental hygiene, and if the child is willing – they play with dental tools.
This approach means that children come to a real visit without fear and are more open to cooperate with the dentist.