You should, ideally, take your child for his or her first dental appointment by the age of two, if not sooner. Remember, those baby teeth have to last for another nine or ten years, so they need good care as early as possible.

Starting early means that your child gets used to seeing the dentist and you get to head off potential problems at the pass. There’s a correlation between early dental visits and a lack of dental problems later in life.

You can prepare your child for that crucial first visit well before it happens; it’s a good idea to do this, in fact, because it starts everyone off on the right foot.

Look in your toddler’s mouth at home

If you look into your child’s mouth every day at home – while brushing his or her teeth, or just now and again – then it will hold no fear. Sit facing your child and ask them to open their mouth while you count their teeth. Even before the teeth erupt, you can gently rub their gums with a flannel or a very soft brush, just so it’s a familiar sensation and procedure.

Take your baby to your dental appointments

This is a great way to help your child become familiar with the dentist – the sounds, smells, lights and (hopefully) you having a great old time in the chair. See how your dentist interacts with children; if he or she is a natural, then sign Junior up immediately. If not, ask for a recommendation – the team at Docklands Dental in Dublin prides itself on its rapport with baby teeth.

If you’re nervous, then don’t attempt this – the sight of mum shaking while metal objects are poked into her mouth really won’t have the desired effect.

Talk about the visit beforehand

In the run-up to the visit, talk about it a few times. Tell your child that they’re going to visit someone who likes to count teeth (isn’t that funny?), and in order to let the dentist do that, they’ll have to lie back and have a special light shone into their mouth.

Whatever you do, don’t say it won’t hurt (although, obviously, it won’t!). Just mentioning “hurt” implies there’s a risk of pain or discomfort and this can really scupper things. Do a bit of role-play with a soft toy, or find an age-appropriate book about dentists.

Choose the right time of day

You know your child’s schedule, so try to fix an appointment when you know he or she won’t be tired or hungry. You should also arrive a few minutes early so there’s time to explore, chat up the receptionists and play with the tooth-related toys in the waiting room.

Stay positive

You don’t need to go over the top; just make it sound like going to the dentist is something everyone does and that it’s a good thing (which of course it is!). It’s no big deal, it’s something everyone does once they have teeth and it can be fun.

Don’t force the issue

Sometimes that first visit doesn’t work out. Whatever you do, don’t force your child to sit still; it’s unlikely the dentist will want to proceed anyway. Calmly take your child out of the consulting room and make another appointment for the following month. You may need to do this a couple of times, but it’s worth it in the long-run!

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One Comment

  1. Nancy says:

    My younger daughter’s upper teeth has been damaged and I tried to take her to dentists but she refused and then I told her that doctor will count your teeth and he will clean your teeth then she agreed to go. So it’s important that talk to the child before visit to the dentists neither she will refuse to touch her teeth.

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