Make Your Child's First Dental Visit a Painless Memory


To most adults a trip to the dentist is nothing out of the ordinary, but to a child it can be a very stressful and scary thing. Maybe your child heard one of their friends talking about how they had a painful trip to the dentist. Or maybe your kid has subconsciously picked up on your own dental anxieties. Either way, it isn't unusual for parents to have a tough time getting their children to the dentist. Don't write off your child's fears and anxieties! If you want their next trip to the A Safari Dental to go well, follow these tips:

Avoid bribing

You may feel tempted to offer your child a new toy or promise them something special for going to the dentist without a fuss, but that plan may backfire on you. If you start to bribe them or bargain with them, you're inadvertently telling them that the dentist's office is an upsetting place to be. You're also setting yourself up for having to reward your child every time they go, and a visit to the dentist should be part of a normal health routine, not something special. Instead of trying to ply them with treats, you should . . .

Make positive associations with seeing the dentist

If you want your child to enjoy going to the dentist, talk about why it's such a good thing. Mention that you love how clean your teeth feel after you've been to the dentist and talk about how important your mouth is to your overall health. Doing this allows your child to understand why the visit is necessary, and seeing your happy attitude will help them to relax when it's their turn in the chair.

Bring a comfort object

Does your child have a favorite toy that they like to carry around with them? Do they have a security blanket? Is there something of yours that your child particularly likes, such as an item of clothing or a piece of jewelry? If there is an item that will distract or comfort your kid when they are being examined, let them bring it to the dental appointment. Sometimes, this will keep them calm and help avoid any kind of tantrum or panic attack. This, in turn, will make it a whole lot easier for everyone – you, Dr. Pettinato, the hygienist, and most importantly, your child.

Use these tips when taking your child to the dentist and you will both leave the office smiling.

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Meet Your Dentist!

Dr. Frank Pettinato II
  • Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
  • Masters in Science Degree
  • Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry