Childrearing

Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment: Expectations Vs. Reality

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The first visit to the dentist is a childhood milestone we don’t hear about as much, but it’s still a huge deal. It’s the start of (hopefully) twice-yearly visits to ensure life-long dental health. The first few visits are very important because they will set the tone for your child. They need to become comfortable with the dentist and everything that happens during a visit so you don’t have a fight on your hands every time an appointment comes around. You might have certain expectations for how it will go and those expectations will very likely not be met. For me, I thought it would be a lot easier than it was:

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Expectation: Your child will happily clamber up on top of the dentist’s chair as though it were a ride at Disney World, thrilled to be introduced to the big, wide world of dental hygiene!

Reality: Your child will cower between your legs, in tears, refusing to climb that scary throne.

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Expectation: Excited to be a “big kid”, your little one will open their mouth wide and do everything the dentist asks of him.

Reality: Did you happen to bring your Jaws of Life? You’ll probably need them to help pry your child’s mouth open once they clamp down and refuse to show the goods.

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Expectation: Your kid will LOVE the fruity-flavored toothpaste and eagerly allow the hygienist to use the fun tickly electronic toothbrush to clean their teeth.

Reality: They will burst into tears at the first sound of that toothbrush and declare the toothpaste “as-custing”, spitting it all down the front of their useless paper bib.

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Expectation: The dentist will compliment your child’s gleaming teeth and tell you to keep up the good work!

Reality: “Have you like, EVER brushed your kid’s teeth?” asks the hygienist as she scraps plaque for half an hour. Wonderful. One more thing to worry about.

(Image: GettyImages)