If you’re getting ready to visit our  Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry for the first time, there are some easy steps you can take to help your child feel more comfortable. These are especially important if you yourself have a bit of dental phobia from past experiences in a dental office.

Fortunately, being prepared can give your family the best first-time experience and set your child up for a positive outlook on their oral and dental health care in the future.

Use Positive Language

You may feel inclined to say things like “This won’t hurt” or “You’re not getting a shot” but even though both of those are great, they use scary words that put ideas into your child’s head that may be difficult to get over. Instead, use words like “count”, “tickle”, or “brush” when you talk about what’s going to happen at their appointment. Avoid any words that might have negative connotations to them.


Play “Dentist” at Home

Grab a few toothbrushes and handheld mirrors, then take turns brushing each other’s teeth. Tell your child to “open wide” while they lay their head in your lap as you count their teeth. A flashlight can help, too. Then have your child practice on their favorite stuffed animal before they “count” your teeth! Do this a few times so that the overall process is one they’ll be familiar with.

Read Books About the Dentist

Pick up a book or two online, at the library, or search Netflix and YouTube for cartoons or videos of your child’s first trip to the dentist. The more familiar your child is by hearing stories about the dentist in a positive light, the better prepared they’ll be.

See the Dentist Before Problems Start

One of the most important things a family can do for their child’s smile is to take their children to the dentist for a checkup at an early age. If you wait until your child is in pain because of a toothache or other dental emergency, they’ll associate seeing the dentist with a host of other emotions. Pediatricians and pediatric dentists recommend all children see a dentist by the time they turn 1 year old.

Ask for a Tour

If your little one has a high sense of anxiety, specific special needs, or unique circumstances, ask our patient coordinators for a short tour of the office the week or two before your first appointment. Getting to see the office, experience our child-friendly amenities, and meet some of the staff can make the next visit something your kids look forward to!

Let the Dental Team do the Talking

At Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry we’ve worked with hundreds of kids, so we know what to say (or not) when it comes to helping a child feel comfortable at their dental care checkup or when receiving other dental care services. When we do the talking, we’ll explain things in an age-appropriate way that doesn’t home in on any of the negative perceptions of the dentist’s office. Just sit back and come along for the ride; we will do the rest!

Call or contact us today for an appointment with a local pediatric dentist near you!

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