This week Lily took her first trip to the dentist and it's something that I have been quite excited about. As a child, my parents would regularly take us to the dentist and it felt like something that should be done regularly.
Our teeth are aspects of our appearance that everyone seems to be conscious about these days. Everywhere you turn there are whitening treatments either for you to use at home or with a dentist, so I want to teach Lily that if she looks after her teeth properly, then she won't need any of this. It will also help her to prevent mouth diseases and tooth loss later in life.
Visiting the dentist can be quite scary for a child. Have someone poke around in your mouth isn't exactly an everyday occurrence. I also think it doesn't help that all dentist visits on TV and in films are negative. Look at Finding Nemo, it's not exactly encouraging is it.
It was safe to say that Lily's trip was pretty successful. She went in, chilled out in the waiting room for a while, looking at all the different information charts. She was asking a lot of questions about them which I felt was amazing. We then went through to the dentist's surgery and panic set in.
For a child that is normally very confident, Lily became started clinging to her dad. I wasn't really sure how to react at first as this is such a rare situation with Lily. We finally got her to sit on the chair with her dad and after a while, she did let the dentist look at her teeth. We took Lily to the dentist I went to growing which I'm now really thankful for. The dentist was asking all about my family and telling some stories which clearly made Lily feel more relaxed and comfortable.
It may not seem like it, but your child's first trip to the dentist is really important. To make it easier for your child (and yourself), I have a few tips that I think my help:
Talk about the visit
Before the day, I spent several weeks talking to Lily about the dentist. I told her what they would do, what she needed to do and how it helps. I also bought her a book from the Maisie Mouse books series about visiting the dentist.
Give yourself time
Book the appointment far in advance so that you have time to talk about it with your son or daughter. It also gives you time to arrange any travel arrangements, time off or other childcare that may be needed.
Calm, confident and comfortable!
Be these three things and your child will feel more relaxed. Our children learn a lot about worry and fear from seeing what evokes those emotions in us. By showing your child that you're confident with the dentist and remain calm, this can transfer to your child.