Health & Fitness

Make your kid’s first visit to the dentist easy: our best tips

With many grown-ups having a tough time motivating themselves to go to the dentist regularly, it shouldn’t be surprising we dread introducing your kids to the same professional.

With the dentist office being an unsettling environment filled with sterility and the shrill sound of drills, this is understandable.

If your kid has a bad experience their first time out, all subsequent trips will be an exercise in frustration.

However, there are dentists like Dr. Kami Hoss who have done a remarkable job in making their offices as attractive as possible for kids.

Known in Southern California as the creator of the popular family dental clinic The Super Dentists, this unique practice has an interior design that makes it a fun place to be, and there are comics available that explain the role of dentists in their lives.

For parents who have signed up with this facility, dentist trips are no longer the dreaded chore they once were.

Want to make your child’s first dentist visit easier? Check out our tips in the article below, and you’ll have a much easier go of things in the years to come.

1) Take them to the dentist ASAP

Like many other activities in a child’s life, the sooner you start them out, the easier it will be for them to do.

Doing this for dentist office visits will normalize the procedure as something needed for their oral health rather than as a time filled with dread and unease.

The latter perception is more likely to take hold the longer you wait, as older kids have a greater capacity to create fear in their mind than smaller ones do.

Take them in after their first birthday or as soon as their first tooth comes in.

2) Choose your words carefully

When your children are young, they are highly impressionable. As such, any words used to describe anything they are not familiar with will go a long way to color their perceptions.

This extends to dentist visits, so be sure to use positive language and examples when talking about them. Describe dentists as sugar bug hunters, and they will more be receptive to the experience.

Avoid words that create an impression that something will be painful. Children develop associations with things that hurt early in their development, so describing things in this context will have a huge impact on them.

3) Have them meet the dentist before their first appointment

Before your child’s first appointment, have them meet the dentist and their team so they will have a better idea of what to expect.

Once they see that the professional and their hygienists are real people that can be trusted, it will go a long way towards them being comfortable with most procedures.

They will explain how the whole process will move forward in child-friendly terms, so be sure to do this before the big day.

4) Make peace with the fact that some things won’t be perfect

Despite all of the above measures, there will be times during their first appointment where your child will be uncomfortable.

When someone new to them is sticking metallic tools in their mouth, this is to be expected.

Fortunately, dentists have seen and dealt with this before. Follow their lead – if they ask you to do something like hold their hand, do it so they can focus on cleaning your kid’s teeth.