Switching dentists can be a jarring experience for a child who may already be afraid of seeing the dentist, but this change also presents an opportunity to create a positive first impression for your child. Involving your child in the process, talking about their anxieties with your dentist, and scheduling appointments together can help ease your child into seeing a new dentist.
If your child is coming from another dentist, it helps to have all available information from the previous dentist you can get. A young child likely won't have many records to bring over, but anything helps, especially if the last dentist made any special notes or performed any procedures, such as fluoride treatments, or identified teeth that may need work once they grow in. This can help you get a head start when explaining what exactly your child needs and will help your new dentist pick up where the last one left off.
This is also a good opportunity for you to involve your child. If you visit the office when scheduling an appointment, bring them along so they can see what it looks like. While the dentist may not be available to meet your child, you can still tell them the dentist's name and show them a picture. This can help prevent surprises during their first visit and make them more comfortable.
Being afraid of the dentist is not uncommon for children, and many dentists have plans in place to deal with fears and anxieties. If your child is particularly anxious, or if you want to make sure your dentist is prepared to handle their first visit with care, ask about the practice's procedures and methods for dealing with anxious children.
When making your appointment, be sure to specify that this will be your child's first visit. This reminder can help the dentist make a good first impression.
Further, if there was something you liked about the way your previous dentist worked, ask if that can be replicated during your child's upcoming visit. Similarly, if there was something you did not like, ask about how that can be avoided. Being informed, and making sure your new dentist is informed, is a great way to make sure your child gets what they need and that everyone is on the same page before their appointment.
Schedule Appointments Together
One good way to help create a good impression for your child is to have your own teeth taken care of during the same visit. Letting your child see that you are doing the same thing as them--especially if they are allowed to watch you--can help them feel more comfortable.
This also gives you an opportunity to turn an otherwise scary situation into something regular that you can do with your child. This is a good opportunity to create positive associations with the dentist. Make a day of going to the dentist by scheduling fun things to do on the same day, such as playing games together or seeing a movie, and repeat this for every visit so it becomes something fun.
To put all these tips to use, contact a local dentist and make an appointment.