We’re taking Charlie to the dentist for a checkup soon – her very first one.

I went to see him for myself today, and our dentist gave me some great advice:

1. Talk to the Dentist First

If you have a brief chat with your dentist beforehand, he/she can be better prepared for your child’s specific needs.

It also helps them to know if there are any fears or meltdown triggers without your having to state them in front of your child.

They also appreciate a ‘heads up’ if your child is likely to bite or refuse to open their mouths – most dentists have some preparations of their own that might help.

2. Prepare your Child

For a few nights prior to the big appointment, play ‘dentists’ with your child/ren when it’s time to brush teeth before bed.

If you have older children, it’s a great chance to show the younger ones what the dentist might do, and how they can help.

Many parents (myself included) are a little afraid of dentists, but don’t pass that onto your children if you can avoid it.

They’re very sensitive – they pick up on these things very well!

3. Bring Music!

We’ll be bringing some music for Charlie, but she doesn’t like earphones so we’re going to bring a CD along.

Familiar music is a real calmer for most children, but if yours is calmed by something else – a blanky or a teddy, perhaps – bring that too.

4. Don’t be Afraid to Get on the Chair!

If you feel that your child would be more comfortable on your lap, climb aboard!

Any dentist who objects to that is not a great one for children anyway.

Some kids would prefer to ‘go it alone’, though – if your child is able to declare a preference, let them do so!

5. Lead by Example

Nothing will alleviate a child’s fears like seeing Mummy or Daddy in the chair.

Your dentist shouldn’t object to letting you go first (just a quick one of course) so that your child can see for themselves how easy it is.

Dental equipment can look and sound scary – even if you’ve prepared them well, it will be a strange sight – so be ready for even the most stoic child to show a bit of nerves.

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