Going to the dentist can be a positive, fun experience for your child, especially if you ensure their first few visits are easy and fun. There’s really no need for children in this day and age to be afraid of their friendly children’s dentist!
At the dental practice of Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili in Fairfax, Virginia, pediatric dentistry services help keep your child feeling good about sitting in the chair. Here’s how you as a parent can help prepare your kiddo for a relaxed, stress-free first dental visit.
Make sure your infant gets proper oral hygiene from the earliest age, by wiping their gums down gently with a wet, lint-free washcloth. If you do this after they nurse or bottle feed, your baby will get used to having their mouth cleaned after eating.
As your child grows into a toddler, offer a small bottle or sippy cup of water after every feeding. This helps their gums stay clean. Once that first tooth makes its appearance, it’s time to schedule their first dental visit.
Try to schedule your child’s first visit at a time of day when they are rested and not cranky, like early in the morning or after their usual naptime. This will help them be relaxed and not cranky or sleepy.
You can expose your child to picture books showing kids having a good time at the dentist, and even playact that you are at the dentist by “counting” their tooth and brushing it with a little brush as practice.
When you arrive in our office, Dr. Yalamanchili usually takes a low-key approach. She’ll help your child sit in the chair, or perhaps even let you hold them if they are nervous. A quick inspection of the gums and tooth or teeth, a little scrubbing if things are going well, then lots of praise, and your child’s first dental visit is complete!
The goal is for your child to have an easy, enjoyable visit, get to know the doctor, and experience nothing that would scare them or hurt them. This sets the tone for their entire dental visit future, and can make it easier to teach your child good oral health habits.
Once your child’s teeth start coming in, get into a routine. The easiest way to make sure your child’s teeth get brushed properly is to brush your own at the same time. Let them work on their own teeth, then follow up to make sure it’s done properly. You should follow up every time until your child reaches the age of eight.
At some point, you’re going to experience some resistance. Brushing teeth is so boring! You can make this daily activity more fun by building a routine around it and letting your child have as much control as possible.
Choose a fun toothbrushing song that is at least 2 minutes long. Let your child pick out their own oral hygiene supplies, from the toothbrush (from a selection you pre-choose!) to the toothpaste (same goes) and floss. Add a chart with stickers for each session, and mark the date when it’s time to get a new brush.
Ready for your child’s first dental visit? Call Dr. Yalamanchili at our office at 703-213-5313 or book your appointment online today.