Three Effective Strategies To Help Prepare For Your Child's First Dental Checkup

When you have a newborn, taking the child for a dental checkup might be the last thing on your mind. But, by the time the child celebrates his or her first birthday, or has had a tooth for six months, it's time to take a proactive role in the child's oral hygiene by scheduling a visit with the dentist. While many children will adjust to these new surroundings with curiosity, others might feel nervous and need a little coaxing. If your child falls into the latter category, there are several ways you can ease the process of visiting the dentist for the first time.

Read Children's Books

Children's books about visiting the dentist are readily available at libraries, online retailers and traditional bookstores and serve as an effective way to convey the message that visiting the dentist is important. While the value of regular dental checkups is difficult for a youngster to grasp, hearing about visiting the dentist through a fun, fictional account can help to set the child's mind at ease. Many children enjoy repetition, so don't be afraid to read the book repeatedly as the date of the first checkup approaches. By the time you walk through the doors of the dental clinic, your child should have a degree of familiarity about the process.

Practice In The Comfort Of Home

It's a strange process for a child to sit in a dentist's chair and have someone examine his or her mouth. You can make this experience more comfortable, however, by practicing a few times in the familiar surroundings of home. Arrange the child in a chair that reclines or prop him or her in a suitable position on the couch. Make a game of opening the child's mouth wide while you pretend to inspect the teeth or give them a brushing. Repeated practice of this process can make your child more acquainted with the process of having his or her mouth inspected, which can make the checkup easier.

Visit In Advance

The process of visiting the dental clinic in advance can have two stages. First, scheduling a meet-and-greet event with the dentist in the days leading up to the appointment can make your child more familiar with the clinic and the dentist, which can make the actual checkup easier. Additionally, it's ideal to get to the clinic early on the day of the appointment, rather than rushing in at the last minute. By arriving early, your child can play in the waiting room and feel relaxed in the new surroundings until you're called for the checkup.

For more information, contact Kids First Pediatric Dentistry or a similar location.