You know how important it is to start healthy dental practices early, like wiping babies' gums with a soft cloth or brushing new teeth with a soft bristle brush. But when it comes time to visit the dentist for the first time, how can you make sure your child is prepared?
Over half of American kids younger than four go to the ER before the dentist and often have to have a tooth extraction. Bringing your child to the dentist early is important to catch problems, like cavities, before they get worse.
Your little one's first dentist appointment should be fun, stress-free, and helpful. Read our guide on how to prepare them for their first time at the dentist's so you both have a great visit.
Prepare Yourself First
Before you work with your child to make a trip to the dentist an easy one, figure out what you need from the visit first. Was there a reason for the visit or is it a standard appointment?
Write down any questions you have beforehand. That way when you walk into the appointment, you can review everything with the dentist and be ready for any follow-up questions too.
Before the Appointment
Before seeing the dentist, make it seem like kids dental care is a fun adventure you both will go on. Talk to them about what they think will happen and try to answer any of their questions.
Show them books and videos about what their first time at the dentist will be like. Practice opening their mouth and maybe even play pretend before the visit.
Try not to schedule their appointment for later in the afternoon. An awake and alert child won't be as cranky or tired and will be more receptive to the dentist.
Depending on the age of the child, they still might react negatively once at the office. If possible, call the dentist ahead of time and see if they'll have any toys or if they have any techniques for helping a child deal with any separation anxiety.
What to Expect at a Child's First Dentist Appointment
Visiting your child's dentist for the first time will most likely include an examination and maybe a gentle cleaning session. The dentist will see that your child's teeth are developing normally and might gently polish their teeth to remove any plaque build-up.
Usually, they won't do an x-ray because your kid's baby teeth will fall out. They'll only recommend them if there are any jammed teeth or problems with their development.
Make their First Visit Easy
The first dentist appointment doesn't have to be scary. These tips and tricks will help you make their first time at the dentist easy and stress-free.
Remember to follow up after the visit and keep the positivity going. You want to instil a lifelong commitment to great dental health practices.
Want to know more ways to improve your children's health or work on your own? Check out our other health guide articles for more great information!