There are many firsts when you have children. Their first words, their first steps are really joyous events that you would not want to miss, but some firsts fill you with dread.
I think the first trip to the dentist is right up there on the list of firsts most parents would rather avoid. It is especially tricky for those parents who are not keen on the dentist themselves.
However, as with most things that you dread, preparation is key. If you know what is coming and prepare for it, things generally go much better than you expect.
Here are a few guidelines to help you and your children get ready for their first trip to the dentist.
Don’t delay the trip
Some parents put off taking their children to the dentist. Resist the temptation to do this. Your child’s baby teeth are important, so they need to be professionally looked after.
The younger your child is the less bothered they will be about a trip to the dentist. Some dentists will see babies as soon as their first few milk teeth come through, others will not officially put children on the books until they are between one and three years old.
Some parents take their baby with them to the dentist, but leave them in their pram. This introduces them to the environment of a dental clinic. Often the dentist will take a look at your child’s milk teeth to get them used to someone strange touching their mouth with a gloved hand. And to reassure you that everything is OK.
Don’t show your nerves
With most things, your children take their cues from you. If you are nervous, they will be too.
Try not to make a big deal out of a visit to the dentist. In fact, you should do everything you can to make their trip fun. Doing something your kids love after your visit to the dentist is a great idea.
Ask for an appointment with the practices children’s dentist
Dentists like Charminster Dental in Bournemouth have a member of staff that looks after most of the practices youngest clients, so ask to be seen by that dentist. Taking them to a child friendly dentist is very important. They will be ready for and used to dealing with children, so the whole experience will be less stressful for all parties. If you do not know of a child’s dentist in your area ask your friends who have slightly older children and can point you in the right direction.
Taking some of your child’s favourite toys with you will help to keep them happy and distracted while you are in the waiting room. Leave plenty of time to get to the dentist, so you do not arrive flustered, but try not to arrive so early that you have to sit in the waiting room for ages.
Your dentist will need to know about any medical conditions your child has and to know what medications they are taking. Also, I would recommend telling the dentist if your child sucks his or her thumb or uses a pacifier. As they should know this, because it has a big impact on how your child’s teeth will develop.