Your 12-month-old doesn't want to sit still for more than a few minutes, and now you're wondering how to handle the first trip to the family dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that babies see the dentist for the first time by 1-year. Before you start to stress, visiting the dental office doesn't have to be difficult for your little one. With some careful consideration, you can prepare for your child's first dental visit in a way that eases the process and even allows her to enjoy this new experience.
1. Keep your baby's schedule in mind when you make the appointment. The American Dental Association suggests that you make the appointment at a time when your child will be well-rested. This will help to make your baby more cooperative. Typically, the morning is one of the best times to schedule a first dental appointment. Unless you baby has had a restless night, it's more likely that the a.m. is a time when she is fresh and ready for a new activity. Avoid naptimes or late-day appointments.
2. Have a positive attitude. By 1-year your baby is able to pick up on and imitate your gestures and actions, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you look worried or anxious, your baby may begin to take on these feelings too. Show her that the family dentist is fun by smiling and using an excited-sounding voice.
3. Talk to your baby. Just because your baby's vocabulary isn't well-developed doesn't mean that you have to keep mum. Use simple explanations and short sentences to tell her about the dentist. For example, when the dentist walks into the room, say something such as, "Say hi to Dr. Jones." Wave "hi" for your baby to repeat. Point to your baby's mouth and tell her that the dentist is going to look at her teeth. Always use a positive tone when walking about or during the dental appointment.
4. Bring a busy bag. Your little one's curious little hands need something to do. Grabbing on to the dentist's instruments are not the place for them. To stop her eager investigation before it starts, bring along a bag of tricks. Fill a cloth bag with a few of her favorite small-sized toys or just add sensory items such as a fuzzy wash cloth or a crumbled piece of tissue. She can reach into the bag and feel the items inside instead of focusing on all of the gizmos and gadgets at the family dentist's office.
Going to the dentist's office is an exciting adventure that's completely new for your 1-year-old. By scheduling the appointment when she's well-rested, keeping your attitude up and bringing a bevy of busy-time objects, you can make the most of the first family dentist visit. (For more information on family dentists, contact Center for Dental Anesthesia)Share