A Child's First Dental Visit: Three Tips For Keeping Your Child Comfortable And Calm

Anyone that has been to the dentist has witnessed the terror on a child's face when they step into the dental office—perhaps you have even heard the tantrums or loud screams when the child sees the dentist's tools. Unfortunately, visiting the dentist for the first time is often a scary event for babies and toddlers.

If you have a child, you are probably a bit apprehensive about how your child will react to their upcoming dental visit. The good news is that you don't have to worry about your child screaming—or worse, biting the dentist. With a few quick tips, you can ease your child's mind and help them feel more comfortable at their dental office.

How? Use these three tips for calming your toddler's fears:

1. Take Your Child to Meet the Dentist

Before you take your child in for their actual dental appointment, consider setting up a meet and greet with the dentist. Allowing, and encouraging, your child to meet the dentist before the actual appointment will help them feel more comfortable, because they won't be at the hands of a complete stranger. It also gives the dentist an opportunity to show your child the tools they use. The dentist can also show your child how they use each tool and why.

If you have older children, consider bring your toddler along for one of their sibling's check-ups. This will give your youngest child a chance to meet the dentist, see what happens, and ask questions. It will also help them feel more at ease, as they will be watching their older sibling undergo the basic check-up or even a minor procedure.

2. Practice a Typical Dental Visit at Home

In the days—weeks, or even months—leading up to the dentist appointment, take the time to show your child what to expect during their visit. Sit them in a chair—or a recliner if you have one—and use a flashlight to look in their mouth. You can also use a pen or toy to "inspect" their teeth as a dentist would. Make the activity a game and offer rewards for sitting still, not biting, and being respectful.

3. Use Lavender Oil

Lavender is well known for its soothing properties—and is often marketed to help children and adults fall asleep. If you know that your child will be anxious during the dental visit, consider using some lavender oil to help soothe them. You can place a few drops of lavender oil on your fingers and rub it into your child's skin on their chest, neck, or behind the ears.

If you are scared about your toddler's upcoming dental appointment, use these tips to help keep your child calm, cool, and comfortable during the visit. Don't forget to use distractions and offer prizes for their good behavior before, during, and after the appointment. Talk to people like Pacific Ave Dental/Allan L. Hablutzel, DDS for more information.