Taking your child to the dentist can be a daunting experience for you and a scary one for your child. Below you will find information about when to take your child to the dentist for their first visit, how to prepare your child, and a list of dentists in Jeddah, as recommended by our readers.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
Ideally, your child should go the dentist by her first birthday, but it’s generally fine to wait until 2 or 3. Putting it off any longer increases your child’s risk for having plaque buildup or cavities at her first visit and who wants to set that kind of precedent? Some parents assume that because baby teeth will eventually fall out, there’s little point in caring for them. This is a huge mistake. Even though you can’t see them, your child’s permanent teeth are developing under her primary ones and it’s important to have a dentist check to see that everything in your child’s mouth is developing normally. You can certainly take your child to your own dentist if he treats kids, but a pediatric dentist is often a better option, especially for young children who may be fearful. These doctors have undergone additional training in caring for children and often have extremely kid-friendly offices with toys, video games, or prizes at the end of each visit to make kids want to keep coming back. (Article adapted from Parents.com)
How can I prepare my child for their first trip to the dentist so they will not be afraid?
1. Start Young
The earlier a child visits the dentist, the better. “This will provide your child with a ‘dental home’ where all her needs — whether a periodic preventive visit or an emergency — will be taken care of,” says Rhea Haugseth, D.M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It’s best that the first visit starts at age 1 or when the first tooth is visible.
2. Keep It Simple
When preparing for a visit, especially the first time, try not to include too many details. Doing so will raise more questions, and adding more information about an extra treatment like a filling he/she might need may cause unnecessary anxiety. Keep a positive attitude when discussing an upcoming visit, but don’t give your child false hope. “Avoid saying that everything will be fine, because if you child ends up needing a treatment, he might lose trust in both the dentist and you,” says Joel H. Berg, D.D.S., M.S., Director of the Department of Dentistry at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
3. Watch Your Words
“Don’t use the ‘S’ (shot),’H’ (hurt) or ‘P’ (pain) words with children. Let the staff introduce their own vocabulary to children to help them get through difficult situations,” Dr. Berg suggests. Instead, tell your child that the dentist is looking for “sugar bugs” so he can clean them off their teeth. “My favorite thing to have parents tell their child is that we are going to check their smile and count their teeth — that’s it, nothing else,” says Michael J. Hanna, D.M.D., a pediatric dentist in McKee Rocks, Pennsylvania, and a national spokesperson of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Use positive phrases like “clean, strong, healthy teeth” to make the visit seem fun and good rather than scary and alarming.
4. Consider a Pretend Visit
Before the first dentist appointment, play pretend with your child to be the dentist and the patient, Dr. Berg says. All you’ll need is a toothbrush. Count your little one’s teeth by starting with the number 1 or the letter A. Avoid making drilling noises or lining up other “instruments.” You can even hold up a mirror and show her how the dentist might look at and check her teeth. Then let your child role-play by using a toothbrush to clean the teeth of a stuffed animal or doll. The key is getting her familiar with the routine so that she’s more comfortable for the real visit.
Picture books with detailed illustrations and easy-to-understand language can also help children get a sense of what to expect. Read Spongebob Squarepants’ Behold No Cavities! A Visit to the Dentist or Dora the Explorer’s Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist.
5. Do Not Try to Relate
Some parents take their children with them to their own dentist appointment, but experts say this is a mistake. Parents themselves might feel anxious about the visit without even realizing it, and their child might sense those fears. Telling “war stories” about extractions, root canals, or other negative experiences will also trigger anxiety, especially because your child may not even have those procedures. Taking your child to a sterile, adult office also gives the wrong impression, whereas most pediatric dentists make their offices kid-friendly — some have video games, pleasing pictures on the walls, and movies or TV shows kids enjoy.
6. Prepare for Some Fussing
“It is normal and age-appropriate for a young child to cry, whine, wiggle, and not want to be examined by a stranger,” Dr. Haugseth points out. “Stay calm and remember that the dentist and his/her staff are used to working with children and have seen their share of tantrums.” Let the dental care professionals guide you; they might ask you to stay at a distance or to hold your little one’s hand, which will provide comfort and prevent him from grabbing any dental instruments.
7. Avoid Bribery
Many experts do not recommend promising your child a special treat if he/ she behaves well at the dentist. Doing so will only increase their apprehension. Saying, “If you don’t fuss or cry, you’ll get a lollipop,” might make your little one think, “What’s so bad about the dentist that I might want to cry?” Promising a sugary treat also sends the wrong message after a dentist emphasizes having clean, healthy teeth by avoiding sweets that can cause cavities. Instead, after the visit is over, praise your child for her good behavior and bravery. Every once in a while, surprise her with a sticker or a small toy as an encouragement.
8. Emphasize the Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Teach your child that visiting the dentist is a necessity, not a choice, and that the dentist will take care of his teeth so that they are strong enough for him to eat. You might also explain that the dentist helps keep cavities at bay and ensures that his patients will have a beautiful smile for years to come. As Dr. Haugseth explains, “A no-nonsense attitude from the parent will set the stage for what the child should expect to achieve excellent oral health.”
(All 8 Tips also taken from Parents.com)
The dentists and orthodontists below are listed alphabetically by hospital.
If you have had experience with any of these doctors and would like to leave review/comment please do so below. If there is someone you would like to add to our list, please let us know!
Al Abeer Clinic
Dr. Sajee Alexander
Asnani Dental Clinic
Dr. Manar or Dr. Abdualziz
Corner of Heraa St. and Amir Sultan
Dr. Rana Baraka
Amir Sultan Street
Near Star Ave Mall in Bougenvillea Center
Dr. Ali El-Taher
Magrabi Dental Center-North Jeddah
Dr. Nathalio Salameh
Dr. Ali Al-Misri
New Jeddah Clinic Hospital
Dr. Shorouk Chaichan