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Here are some tips about making your child’s first dental visit an enjoyable experience.
- Many books say to take your child to the dentist at the first sign of a tooth. While this may sound like good advice, it is really not practical. If you are not able to look in your child’s mouth, there is high probability that the dentist or dental hygienist will not be able to either. By the age of three, most children are ready to have their first visit without making it a traumatic event.
- There are some children that will need to see a dentist before age three. Look in your child’s mouth for signs of decay (dark spots) or swollen gums. If your child complains of tooth or mouth pain, they need to see a dentist.
- Before their first visit, practice with your child. Have your child practice opening their mouth big and wide. Read a book on the dental visit. Let your child know that we will be wearing a mask, glasses and gloves.
- Never mention the words hurt, pain or scared. Don’t even say “It won’t hurt” because the only word they will pick up on is “hurt”.
- The first visit should be all about fun. Your child will go for a ride int he chair, find out how many teeth they have and get their teeth “tickled” with an electric toothbrush (polishing). Do not stress, your child will pick up on it.
It is important to start a home care regimen with your child as soon as they have teeth. You can use a baby toothbrush that fits on your finger for infants or even a washrag. For toddlers, let them brush (they will want to be independent) and then you brush after them. Make it a game. I have even let my son brush my teeth with my brush. He really enjoyed that! Be consistant and have fun!
Renae is a Registered Dental Hygienist and holds a Masters degree in Adult Education. Leave a comment if you have any further dental questions!
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