When your child gets their first tooth, they should see a dentist within six months. If your child is late developing teeth, you should take them to a dentist at the age of two to check to check that everything is developing correctly. Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for some young children, but there are a few things you can do to make a first dental appointment less intimidating.
1. Be Positive
Your attitude toward the dentist can make a big difference to the way your child feels about dental appointments. Even if you hate going to the dentist, try to avoid talking negatively about the upcoming appointment to your child. Even very young infants may be able to pick up on a negative mood in their parents, so be sure to use a positive tone when talking about the appointment and smile at your child to reassure them.
2. Let Your Child Know What to Expect
If your child is old enough to understand, it can help to explain in simple terms what the dentist is going to do. Again, it's important to avoid dwelling on negative aspects of dentistry, such as drilling, cavities or pain. Instead, tell your child that the dentist wants to look at their mouth to check they have strong, healthy teeth. Let the child know what they should do during the appointment, which is likely to involve sitting in the dentist's chair and opening their mouth wide.
3. Choose the Right Dentist
Choosing a dentist who has a lot of experience in children's dentistry can help to ensure your child has a good first dental appointment. Look for a family dentist that specialises in children's dental health.
4. Arrive in Plenty of Time
Rushing into the dentist's office at the last minute will make you stressed, which in turn could upset your child. Leave plenty of time to get to the appointment. This should result in you arriving well in advance of the appointment, so your child can get used to being in a new environment before they meet the dentist for the first time.
5. Bring a Favourite Toy
You may need to wait for a while before you see the dentist, so it is a good idea to bring something to keep your child entertained. Bringing a favourite toy can help your child avoid getting bored in the waiting room, as well as providing comfort in case the child becomes scared or distressed.