Is it nearly time for your child’s first visit to the family dentist in Fort Atkinson? We can understand that this can be a big step for you and your child. You want to make sure that it all goes smoothly. Here are some strategies to help you ensure your child’s first visit to the dentist is a great experience and allows them to enjoy a lifetime of good dental health.

Don’t Wait Too Late

daughter receiving a piggy back ride from her had in the park, smiling
First, it’s essential to make sure your child visits the dentist at the right age. Their first visit to our office should be when their first tooth has erupted. It can even be a little earlier than that since the first visit is about making them comfortable, not about treatment.

The younger you bring in your child, the easier it is to spot potential developmental issues, including possible tongue ties. It might not have interfered with breastfeeding, but it might still interfere with tooth and jaw development. We can also head off cavities and other issues. Dentistry is a field where prevention is much less expensive than treatment.

Pick the Right Time of Day

As with most of us, your child likely has times of the day when they are naturally bright and happy. Other times, they are more likely to be cranky and irritable.

Pick the time of day when your child is most likely to be in a good mood. It makes it easier for everyone and can help your child form positive attitudes about dental visits.

Have a Positive Attitude

Your child is very perceptive. They are watching you constantly and learning as much as they can about the world from how you interact with it and with them. If you have a positive attitude about your child’s first visit to the dentist, they are more likely also to have a positive attitude.

The Benefits of a Family Dentist

One of the benefits of choosing a family dentist before you have a family is that it gives you time to build a positive relationship with the dental office before bringing in your child.

Any good family dentist will be good and kind to your child, unlike a general dentist who might have difficulty dealing with your child. However, think how much more influential it can be for your child to see everyone greeting you by name at the office and chatting casually with you. It helps the place seem like a friendly family visit, not a medical one, which helps put them at ease.

Let Your Child Know the First Visit Will Be Easy

It’s also important to make sure your child knows that their first visit to the dental office–and most of their visits for many years–will be an easy one. We’ll take them around the office on a little tour to help them feel at home. Most often, an exam of their mouth will be quick and easy. If you bring them at the recommended time, we likely won’t do either x-rays or a tooth cleaning. We might not even do a fluoride treatment.  We can save those for later.

How to Address Dental Anxiety

So what can you do if your child develops dental anxiety, either before their first visit or in advance of later visits? Here are some strategies to help your child feel less anxious at the dentist.

Ask Them Why They’re Afraid

Kids can fixate on ideas that they encounter incidentally. Sometimes a casual remark you make, something they see in a movie or on TV, or something a friend says gives them a mistaken impression you can easily clear up.

Reconsider Your Messaging

It’s important to help your child understand the need to take care of their teeth. However, sometimes parents accidentally make the dentist a villain in the process. “If you don’t brush your teeth, the dentist will have to drill them out” can give your child a frightening image of the dentist. If they know they haven’t been brushing as well or as often as they should, they will be afraid to come to the dentist.

Read Books about the Dentist

There are many good children’s books about a visit to the dentist that can help your child feel at ease about the process. When they see their favorite character going to the dentist and having a good experience, it helps them relax.

Just make sure you know the targeted age for the particular book you are getting. Some are aimed at older children who might need dental work, while others are focused on the simple visits that younger children will have.

Give Your Child Some Control

Children can feel more secure when they have some control over their situation. Before the visit, talk to your family dentist about establishing a signal that your child can use to say they want to stop. This helps them address their dental anxiety, and often they don’t even need to use the signal to stay comfortable.

Family Dentists That Make Your Child Feel Welcome

If you are looking for a family dentist in Fort Atkinson that can help your child feel comfortable and at home, then you should consider BKS Dental. We are happy to see your entire family, and we know how to help even the youngest patients have a great experience at the dentist.

Please call (920) 563-7323 or use our online form to contact us about your child’s visit.