Oral and dental care are vital aspects of healthcare an individual must care for and maintain starting from childhood. Taking care of one’s oral and dental health is a must for all ages, especially when the dental and oral anatomy undergoes essential changes during the first eight years of a child’s life.
Neglecting dental health can affect your child’s overall well-being permanently. As a parent, it’s your utmost responsibility to teach your children how to clean and maintain their teeth while they’re still young. Visiting a dental professional regularly is one excellent way to do so.
In This Article
When Should I Seek Dental Services For My Child?
Many parents remain torn and confused about the right age for their child’s first dental visit. While most parents decide to take their two-year-old children to see their dentist, two years is later than the recommended age of medical professionals.
As soon as your child’s first tooth emerges, it’s advisable to see a dentist immediately. This way, the dentist can start monitoring your child’s oral and dental development. Moreover, this can lessen your child’s anxiety in taking trips to the dentist.
Here are essential tips to give your child a great, worry-free experience on their dental visits:
Find The Right Dentist
Choosing a friendly, experienced dentist can make a significant difference. Children get easily nervous and scared of unfamiliar surroundings like a dental clinic, but finding the right dentist helps make the environment more child-friendly and relaxing.
To ensure that your chosen dentist possesses the required qualifications, you have to do some research and look for a clinic within your proximity. Dental services catered to families, such as the Family Dental Health Center, offer a variety of services for the oral and dental needs of family members of all ages.
By hiring these dental services, you are assured that your dentist can appropriately attend to your child’s needs. You also have the convenience of scheduling appointments and cutting on dental care costs by having the same dentist attend to all your children.
Answer Your Child’s Questions Carefully
Upon informing your child about the dental visit, their curiosity will lead to many questions that you must answer carefully, including topics on the actual experience inside the clinic. As much as you want to enlighten your child about these details, you could be unintentionally describing dentists and their clinics in a negative light.
It would be best to allow the dental professionals to do more of the explanation. They have a more accurate, child-friendly vocabulary that can keep children at ease before, during, and after the dental checkup or treatment.
Set A Good Example At Home
A child’s behavior and beliefs are built inside their home. Since they tend to learn and mimic actions that they observe from their surroundings, this is your best opportunity to teach your child about proper oral and dental hygiene before the dental visit. This way, they won’t be overwhelmed during the scheduled visit.
Teaching children oral and dental hygiene helps them value their oral and dental health more while growing up. If you introduce proper hygiene practices at a later age, their experience may become more burdening and terrifying, especially if your child’s first visit involves treatment of tooth decay and cavities.
Dress Your Child Comfortably
While a dental appointment may seem like a formal visit, don’t get too worked up dressing your little one in formal and uncomfortable clothes as it is not a requirement. Dentists won’t mind their clothing at all. In dressing your child for the visit, lean more on loose, comfortable clothes rather than restrictive cloth sizes and materials.
Being dressed in uncomfortable clothes can affect their experience. If they’re dressed in casual, comfy clothes, there’ll be less hindrance in completing the procedure, whether it be a simple diagnosis or major dental treatment.
If your little one has a favorite toy, you’re most welcome to bring them to the clinic. You can also play your child’s favorite songs or videos to keep them calm and distracted from discomfort. If your kid has a strong gag reflex or will most likely have panic attacks and compromise their safety, you can discuss sedation dentistry with your dentist.
Arrange Rewards After Visits
Due to their young age, children’s perceptions of value rely on a reward system. Simply put, they follow the rules to obtain rewards, and this method can be advantageous in teaching your child about oral and dental care.
For instance, you can give them their desired reward after the dental visit, such as a toy they’ve been longing to have. You can also reward them with items that can improve their oral and dental hygiene, like a new toothbrush and toothpaste designed with their favorite animated characters.
However, be careful not to bribe your child too much and depend on rewards alone. If your little one keeps on receiving rewards after performing your demands, they’ll adapt this behavior as they grow up and think that every good deed deserves something in return.
Always remember that you’re there to fully support your child. Children can detect your emotional cues despite not being fully aware of them. If your child has sensed your fear and worry before the dental visit, they may also feel scared and worried. No matter how easy or frightening the oral and dental procedure might be, keep yourself calm and composed.
Instead of reassuring your child that there’s nothing to be afraid of, which isn’t always the case, tell them that you’ll be with them throughout their dental procedure. Once your child witnesses your relaxed and reassuring demeanor in the room, they’ll feel more at ease. After all, you’ve had your fair share of being scared inside the dental clinic, and now is the time to help your child overcome the fear.
Accompanying your child during their first dental visit can be quite stressful, but overcoming this can help you stay consistent in improving your child’s oral and dental health. Also, make sure that their first dental appointment won’t be their last. Whether your child is suffering from specific dental conditions or not, keep your dentist posted on your child’s oral and dental condition at least twice a year.
If you don’t give much importance to your child’s dental visits, your child might develop severe dental conditions. Hence, it’s always better to visit the dentist as early as possible and remain consistent in doing so for the sake of your child’s health and well-being.