I’m about to take my son to his first dental appointment. I wondered what your opinion is as to how to prepare him. He’s three years old and likes to know things ahead of time, but I’m not sure how much to say.
Deanna D.- Tallahassee
It is fantastic that you are being so proactive with your son’s dental care. My suggestion is when you bring up his dental appointment, don’t make a big deal out of it. If you treat it as a normal part of his dental hygiene, like brushing, he’ll be less uptight. Children sense when we are nervous and it makes them nervous as well. You could simply say that he is going to get a special cleaning for his teeth and leave it at that. Of course, answer any questions he has, but keep the tone upbeat and simple.
You want his first appointment to be before he has any dental issues. Focus his preparation on hygiene training. Brushing his teeth should be mandatory. There are plenty of ways to make this fun, instead of a battle. You can play games together, or get stickers. Whatever works best for him. This way his first appointment will be a good experience, instead of dealing with a cavity.
Equally as important as preparation for the appointment is choosing the dentist. There are many great pediatric dentists available. However, there are also great general dentists who are qualified and love treating children. It is convenient to have the whole family seen in the same office. You want it to be a dentist who is comfortable with and enjoys children. One way to tell if a dentist is comfortable treating children is the age they prefer to see them. If they prefer to wait until they are over seven, that is a sign they’re not comfortable around children. On the other hand, if they’ll see children as young as one you can tell they are comfortable with them and enjoy treating them. Some dentists do not allow parents in the treatment room, so if that is important to you or your child, you should ask the office ahead of time about their policy.
You may also be interested on our page on Tooth Decay Treatment and Prevention.
This blog is brought to you by Naperville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.