[This is a guest post from Rachel Burns at Top Mom on how to prepare your toddler for his first visit to the dentist.]
Little kids grow at such an incredible speed, and with all the responsibilities that come with parenting, we tend to forget about that until they begin biting!
Biting, for me, has always been bittersweet. Sweet, as that is still a normal child developmental behavior… And bitter, because as a mom I just hate it and highly discourage my little ones from doing it. It’s no fun getting bitten!
Now speaking of “biting”… When did all those teeth start popping?! Geez! Time flies… Well I guess it is time to pay the dentist a visit.
An unfamiliar territory for first-time parents for sure. That is why I’m here.
Let’s get started!
“They sure are handy when you smile. So keep your teeth around awhile.“
~ Dr. Seuss
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Preparing your Toddler for His First Dental Visit
Generally, being prepared is very crucial for every age. Making mental preparedness a part of your toddler’s upbringing as early as now can help him handle issues well in the future.
Supporting your rug rat even with only a dentist visit can go a long way. While your child grows, you should always be there for him as much as possible because he gets to learn new things everyday.
At this point, your toddler is over his monthly, quarterly or biannual well-baby checks. Meaning the transition from a typical kids’ doctor to a dental specialist would be pretty hard for him.
To make the first visit to the dentist as manageable as can be, here’s a few easy tips to consider:
1. The Sooner the Better
Usually, many new parents don’t have any idea.
The question still lingers: “When do I start taking my tot to the dentist?”
The answer? As soon as possible!
Learning to take care of his own teeth at an early age can greatly improve your child’s oral health.
According to a pediatric dentist based in Vancouver — Dr. Millenaar — a parent ought to take the lead on getting their baby to the dental clinic as soon as 24 weeks following the appearance of the primary teeth. He further insisted that the timing shouldn’t exceed one year following the front tooth popping up.
The basis for this early move is that there has to be a stable foundation for oral wellness.
The dental specialist is highly capable of sitting with the child and helping him understand the importance of maintaining a good state at the mouth department.
Your toddler will be taught how to keep the mouth clean and the risks that come with being careless. It’s not that parents can’t do it, but it’s better coming from a specialist!
2. Monitor Your Toddler’s Teeth at Home
Everyone tends to react differently to something strange.
In this case, unless a toddler has had that personal experience of being into a dental clinic before, it can be quite difficult for him to feel comfortable there.
In addition, the dentist would be doing something unfamiliar to your little child. With that, your tot can give the dental pediatric specialist a hard time.
So in the comfort of your home, show your toddler some of the possible steps that the dentist will do to his teeth.
Here’s a few you can do at home to get him ready for that first experience while promoting oral health as well:
- Show him how to brush his teeth properly.
- Check his teeth for any cavity daily.
- Check his gums regularly.
- Show him how to gargle.
By doing these things on the regular, the routine will eventually sink in and will tremendously help him prepare for the actual visit to the dentist.
Plus, his dentist will thank you for the favor.
PRO TIP: I recommend you get this toothpaste for your toddler. Aside from the fact that this is ADA-approved, it is made of natural ingredients and is not tested on animals.
That goes without saying that it is by far the best over-all toothpaste for children in my book.
Read more: Top Mom’s Toothpaste Recommendations
Related article about toddlers: Daily Toddler Schedule (Free Sample Routine Included)
3. Allow your Toddler to Tag Along During Your Checkups
The best way toddlers learn at a tender age is by observing.
Since most of them can’t read or write at this point, the things they see people around them do are ultimately the things they will end up adapting to.
With this in mind, it will be wise to allow your child to tag along whenever you have a scheduled appointment with your dentist.
When they see that you’re also doing it, things will seem a little natural for them.
Besides, getting acquainted with the environment and learning how things go down will make him more comfortable when he goes for his first visit.
Further meeting a dentist in the flesh will doubtlessly open him up to the idea that a dental examination is safe and will contribute to the perspective that he has regarding the overall check-up.
4. Visit and Survey Dental Clinics with your Toddler
Find a date in your calendar to pay dental clinics a visit together and get advice on matters about oral health.
It can be more enjoyable when both you and your toddler are attended to by the dentist. These surveys will also help you find the best dentist for your child.
5. Invest in Materials that Touch on Oral Health
We all know entertainment grabs the attention of young ones. Our little kids are always interested in things like television programs and books. So why not use them to our advantage!
Nowadays, there are books or television shows on almost everything. You will find something for your toddler without even trying.
PRO TIP: Trust me when I say books are still a thing! You can find great quality books about dentists on Amazon. This book right here has such engaging illustrations your toddler will love.
Being entertained while learning about issues concerning the mouth department is truly a win-win situation.
Go ahead and buy him dentist toys if you like. Nothing beats playing and learning at the same time!
6. Choose the Perfect Time
It is essential to consider the time when taking your toddler to his first dentist visit.
Young ones experience several bouts of behaviors in a day. That is just how little children are engineered.
At some point, they can be calm and composed. The next, they can be overwhelmingly active.
Your toddler’s state of mind can absolutely contribute to his entire behavior, so always choose the perfect time to schedule his appointments so he can focus and cooperate well.
You can also try incorporating dentist games while waiting to be seen by the dentist to help him calm down.
Conclusion to Prepping your Toddler for His First Dentist Visit
Prepping your kid for his first dental checkup requires some level of wisdom.
You should never mention any graphic information like bleeding gums or tooth decay. It will only scare the heck out of him.
Assure him that the dentist’s place is nothing to be afraid of.
Let him know that the dentist will only make sure that his teeth are perfect and his smile is beautiful.
There you go! Get to prepping that charming little one!
You got this, Mama!
Talk to you soon,
Easy Tips to Get your Toddler Ready for His First Dentist Visit
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