For many children, their first dental visit can be a scary experience! At Springbrook Family Dentistry we always do our best to keep your child at ease and make their first experience a pleasant one so they leave with smiles instead of tears! Below are a few tips for helping to ensure your child’s dental visit is a positive one:
- Start them out young: Many parents don’t know this but the American Dental Society’s recommendation for a child’s first dental visit is actually one year old or when the first tooth comes in, whichever comes first! This appointment allows us to ensure everything is developing normally as well as to make sure you as the parent are educated on how to help your child take care of his or her teeth as they get older. It also helps the child get accustomed to having his mouth evaluated at a young age, which will make it easier when he is older.
- Use happy language only: Please please please don’t ever tell a child they will be getting a shot, even as a joke! This can lead to a lot of anxiety before they even get to our office and makes it hard to get cooperation. In our office this shot is “sleepy juice” for their tooth and the drill is just a “special toothbrush” to remove “sugar bugs.” These words are much less scary and will help your child feel at ease.
- Tell, show, do: When a child needs work done for the first time this is how we like to approach it. First we tell them what we will be doing, then we show them all the special instruments we will use to do it, then by the time we are ready to perform the procedure your child will feel more comfortable because they know what to expect. Even better can be having the child see mom or dad be worked on first! Bring them to YOUR cleaning appointment before their own so they can see that you had a positive experience and then they won’t be as frightened when their time comes.
- Laughing gas: For younger children that need dental work for the first time we often recommend using laughing gas (nitrous oxide). It is a mild, harmless gas that your child will breathe in to help them relax. They will be fully conscious but it will help minimize anxiety. Often they feel like they are floating or their fingers and toes are tingly. Once the procedure is done, your child will be placed on 100% oxygen for about 5 minutes and they will be completely back to themselves. It’s a great option for making sure that first filling is a positive experience.
There are many other ways that both parents and dentists can help make sure a child’s dental visit is a positive experience. If you would like to discuss what can be done to put your child at ease feel free to give our office a call!