Do's and Don'ts of Your Child's First Visit with the Dentist
- Familiarise your child with the dental clinic. Take your toddler along when someone else in the family who enjoys their dental check-up is going too.
- Schedule your child's appointment earlier in the day when they are alert and fresh.
- Be low-key. Treat the visit as routine. Answer any questions the child has honestly but not too specifically.
- Be patient if your child is frightened and non-cooperative. It may be better to reschedule another time.
- Let the dentist decide whether you should stay in the room. Children often respond better without their parents present.
- Wait for an emergency to be the first visit.
- Make the visit the high point of the day. Your child will suspect something is up.
- Use bribery or threats in an attempt to encourage good behaviour.
- Threaten the child with a dental visit for any refusal to brush teeth or misbehaviour.
- Say negative words like pain, pull, jab or drill, or phrases like “It won't hurt much” or “it won't be too bad” as this will only create anxiety.
- Try and explain exactly what will happen. The dentist has special words and ways to explain procedures to children.