You care about your child’s health. Of course you do. It goes without saying. Some parents mistakenly overlook teeth, though, as an important factor in maintaining overall wellness. The fact is that healthy teeth and gums are an integral part of your child’s well being; they must be properly cared for right from the beginning. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist by their first birthday.
It’s understandable, though, that some parents may feel a little apprehensive about taking their child to the dentist. There are many reasons for this. Some adults remember a time when they felt uncomfortable at the dentist – as a kid or as an adult. Others have simply overheard, while at the dentist, a child having a temper tantrum or crying, and they assume that their child’s experience will be the same.
Bright lights, loud noises and medical masks may naturally be intimidating for some children. There are many things, though, you can do to help them avoid ever being scared of dental cleanings.
Your child’s primary, or baby teeth, will begin to erupt between the ages of 6-to-12 months. Get into the habit of brushing your baby’s teeth every day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and no more than a pea-sized amount of children’s toothpaste. This will help keep your child’s mouth healthy, and also help your child adjust to the practice of teeth cleaning. When the dentist looks in the child’s mouth for the first time, the child will already be used to having his or her teeth looked at and touched.
Many children fear the unknown. Talk to your child about what the dentist’s office will look like and what the process will be once you get there. You can explain what waiting rooms are and how to check in at a reception desk. You should talk to your child, too, about who the dentist is and what his job entails. Let your child know that you like and trust your dentist – this will help your child to feel more at ease.
You can even make a game of the preparation. Set up a little waiting room. Color while you wait. Move to a different room. Pretend to be a dentist and touch your child’s gums and then brush his or her teeth.
Don’t Make Bribes
If you promise your child a treat after the visit to the dentist, you may be setting an expectation that something bad is about to happen. Take your child in for the appointment like you would take him or her to the grocery store, office or lunch. At the end, you can of course celebrate a happy visit and keep the positive associations going, but you don’t have to prepare you child for the worst. It’s not going to be the worst. It’s likely going to be quite easy, actually!
Let us know! Stop in to visit us in Clinton Township or give us a call at (586) 286 – 4500. We’re here for you and want both you – and your child – to have the best dental experience possible.