How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

February 26, 2021 8:33 am
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Young baby with her first baby teeth smiles before her first visit to the dentist

Ideally, your child’s first visit is shortly after they get their first tooth or have their first birthday — whichever is earlier. But if your child is already a bit older, that’s OK! No matter your child’s age, these tips can help you prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist.

  1. Begin Oral Care Early
  2. Healthy teeth start at home. In age-appropriate language, teach your child to value strong, healthy teeth that allow them to eat, smile, and communicate. Make oral hygiene a routine as early as possible. You can gently wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp cloth even before they have teeth. When they have one tooth, start brushing. Begin flossing once they have at least two teeth. When oral care habits are established early in the home, visiting the dentist will feel just another step in that process.

  3. Be a Good Role Model
  4. Having a positive role model when it comes to oral healthcare will help your child feel more interested in caring for their teeth. Brush your teeth in front of them and talk to them about your own visits to the dentist.

  5. Read Children’s Books About the Dentist
  6. In addition to an at-home oral hygiene routine, you can read books about going to the dentist with your child. Some of our favorites include: The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan & Jan Berenstain; Curious George Visits the Dentist by H. A. Rey; ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth From A to Z by Harriet Ziefert; The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi; What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist by Heidi Murkoff; Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer; and The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss.

  7. Bring a Distraction
  8. When you child does visit the dentist, make sure they are well-rested, dressed in comfy clothes, hydrated, and not hungry. Consider bringing your child’s favorite comfort item, such as a stuffed animal or blanket, to help them feel more comfortable. We also recommend planning an enjoyable activity for afterward that they can look forward to.

Whether it’s your child’s first visit or they are a regular patient at our office, our friendly team is accustomed to working with kids. We’ll help them (and you!) feel at ease while you’re in our office. To ask us any questions about our comprehensive, family-friendly services or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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