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Preparing for the first visit to the dentist

The first trip

Going to the dentist doesn't have to be a traumatic event. You should choose a pediatric dentist for children between the ages of 0 and 13. Pediatric dentists and their staff specialize in the comfort and needs of children.

Before the appointment, build up the event. Read stories about trips to the dentist. Here are a few suggestions:

Watch a video regarding the dentist and all aspects of oral hygiene; such as A Trip to the Dentist Through Pinatta's View, produced by Boggle Goggle.

You could also assist your child in surfing the web for fun sites explaining dental visits and procedures. The American Dental Association (ADA.org) would most definitely be a site of interest. Education will reduce anxiety.

Most of us, especially children, fear the unknown. Most importantly, talk positively about the dentist and ALL procedures. Be sure to smile with a relaxed body and face when discussing the subject. Children are very clever. They can sense our emotions, read our body language and react accordingly.

Since dentistry has changed drastically over the years, your experiences past or present, should NOT influence your child's experience. Let him or her decide for themselves. Here is some recommended word play:

  • Say flashlight instead of bright light 
  • Say pinch, mosquito bite instead of SHOT, needle 
  • Say uncomfortable, pressure instead of PAIN, HURT 
  • Say point, count, touch instead of pick, probe, jab 
  • Say Mr Thirsty instead of suction, vacuum

Check out this example of using word for an initial appointment:

"Tomorrow you are going to see our friend the dentist (Smiling). He/she will use his/her flashlight to see all your teeth. He/she will count your teeth with a special pointer. Counting teeth is easy. He/she will touch each tooth with the special pointer as he/she counts. Pointing to teeth is like pointing to fingernails because both teeth and fingernails are hard."

Avoid words that have negative connotations. Also, never ever use the dentist or procedures as threats.

Dental health is a necessity for the overall health of your child. Educate and encourage your child. Display a positive attitude. Make going to the dentist a pleasant experience.

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