There is no doubt that the first look at the inside of a dentist's office can be very frightening for little ones. But as with so many aspects of our lives, good dental hygiene begins when we are young, and many children dentists say the sooner the better.
How can I prevent my child from developing "dental phobia"?
This is a really important factor in encouraging long-term dental hygiene in your children. Many adults dread going to the dentist more than public speaking! If you are one of them, try not to convey your fears to your kids.
Try to explain the importance of the children's dentist, stressing the positive aspects of prevention and maintenance, as well as the value of a great smile. The winning combination of good dental hygiene and high self-esteem cannot be underestimated.
How should I choose the right dentist for my child?
The relationship your child forms with his or her dentist can set the foundation for future attitudes and habits. Bear in mind that the children dentist you yourself are seeing may or may not be an appropriate choice for your kids.
Ask around. Get some recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors. If possible, visit a few dentists yourself and talk to them about their dental programs for children.
Talk to your children to prepare them for that crucial first visit. Don't just spring it on them, but don't make it too big a deal either. Gauge their reaction, listen to their concerns and reassure them by answering their questions calmly.
Many parents reward a visit to the children's dentist with a special treat, such as a new toy, which can help a child associate the dentist with a positive result.