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Your Child's First Dental Visit: Mistakes To Avoid

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As a parent, new activities are always something that you'll be experiencing with your child. You'll be engaging in a series of "firsts" for much of their young lives. However, because you've grown so used to doing these things yourself, you may underappreciate what an ordeal some activities can be for someone so small. For instance, a dental visit may not be a big deal to you, but a child's initial visit could color all the visits afterwards. Their experience could make them happy to keep seeing a dentist or could make them avoid dentists for years, jeopardizing their oral health. What shouldn't you do?

1. Show Up Without Preparation

Making the appointment and not talking about it until you show up in the office is an error which could affect your kid negatively. If they have no idea what happens at the dentist, they may be bothered or uncomfortable with the way x-rays are done or the way they need to sit back for dental inspections. You can have discussions with your child about what the dentist does and how a visit should unfold. You can use some of their toys or stuffed animals to roleplay the visit so they get a feel for what happens.

You might also have your child tag along to your own appointments a couple of times before having their own. The way you interact with dentists will model the behavior you'll expect from them.

2. Forget to Bring Distractions

Even after having the situation explained, your child may still become a bit nervous. For that reason, distractions are necessary to have around. For instance, you might bring a DVD of their favorite show or movie to start up when they become fidgety. You could bring their all-time favorite music to play. You can even distract with future plans; if your child is showing signs that they're uncomfortable, remind them about the park they'll go to after the appointment or the movie theater they'll be going to later in the day.

3. Act Nervous

Your own emotions must be kept closely in check throughout the experience. If you're uptight, your child will notice. Ensure that you're breathing deeply, smiling, and being positive throughout the visit.

Avoiding these dental appointment mistakes can encourage a healthy, positive relationship between your child and dentists. You may even consider a dental care specialist who works only with children. Plan well and your child should be happy to continue caring for their small teeth and seeing professionals who will help keep their mouths healthy. Contact a pediatric dental clinic for more information.