Our youngest patients’ unease about their first visits to the dentist can come undone – somewhat – under some gentle coaching from parents beforehand
Many adults see their minimum two annual appointments at Oasis Dental or any other Greater Toronto Area dentist’s office as necessary dates to keep on top of maintaining consistent oral health. At the other end of the spectrum, studies show that the earliest childhood dentist visits can set tones for how they’ll perceive their appointments for the next seven years or more.
Your child’s first few years of home oral hygiene aren’t merely a good time to begin heading off their fears of the dentist – this is inarguably the best time.
We always treat our youngest patients with exceptionally tender, understanding care and patience. Even then, having a strange adult exploring and touching the insides of their mouths with various implements for the first time can be an understandably frightening moment without some explanation beforehand.
Start acclimating especially young children today to the realities and necessities of dental care, and you can more likely look forward to the start of what we hope will be a lifelong trusting relationship with a caring dental professional.
The most basic steps toward a healthy relationship with pediatric dental care begins with simply teaching responsible home oral care.
Parents can begin the habit of keeping a clean mouth by cleaning a baby’s gums with a wet cloth, finger cot or baby toothbrush even before teething begins. Early checkups after Baby’s first tooth erupts and before the first birthday take advantage of the earliest opportunities to get you both used to regular visits.
When your children reach the age when they’ll be conscious of their very first visit to the dentist, you can begin some slightly deeper at home learning. Many parents turn their own positive experiences into exciting stories, sometimes supplemented by reading a children’s book about what a dentist does and even engaging in some fun roleplay by pretend-examining their children’s teeth while they lay back in a recliner or on a couch.
When you choose a pediatric dentist for your child’s first appointment, you can expect a caring professional who has oriented a dedicated practice toward the very gentlest, most compassionate experience for fearful youngsters. Many use especially small instruments better suited to more tender mouths and fill their offices with colorful decor, toys and entertaining videos as part of a necessarily lighter experience.
Many pediatric dentists also have specialized training to stave off unease in children with special needs.
You might be too anxious yourself to approach the appointment – if so, ask your child’s mother or father or another familiar, trusted loved one to accompany the patient. At the very least, you should stop by the office before the appointment to meet and get a feel for your child’s new dentist.
Bringing a beloved toy along on the day of the appointment can provide a handy distraction if and when things get tense. Remember, you want to associate this visit with fun from the very beginning.
We can’t guarantee the experience will necessarily be easy for you. it can be challenging to a parent’s protective instincts when squirming, whining or fussing begins – and, even in the smoothest of scenarios, pediatric dental professionals expect a little. The vast majority of pediatric dentistry don’t recommend bribery with rewards to quell the unrest. Instead, avoid using negative words such as “hurt” and “shot” that could frighten children more and let the trained professionals do their best to defuse the panic.
If all goes well, this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationships….