Dental care for your children is important from their earliest days—even before they actually have teeth. Establishing a healthy tooth cleaning routine will help your child take care of their teeth their entire lives. Since tooth decay can begin as soon as you start seeing teeth in your child’s mouth, it is vital to establish these habits of healthy teeth for kids early in life. Those healthy habits include your kids first dentist appointment.
Looking down the road to your child’s first visit to the dentist, the thought of preparing them for their first dentist appointment can leave many parents apprehensive. We have some tips that might help.
How to prepare your child for their first dentist appointment
- Plan a dentist office field trip. Stop by our dentist office before the actual appointment, so that you and your children can look around, meet our staff and Dr. Gardner, see the dentist chair, and get a feel for what their first appointment will be like. We also have a free surprise that your child can take home with them.
- Read books about going to the dentist. Take your child to the local library, and ask the librarian to direct you to book about going to the dentist. Grab a comfortable seat and begin reading. There are many, many books that are geared especially for children, and reading them to prepare for your kids first visit.
- Ask your friends for advice. Chances are that if you know other parents who have already gone through that first dentist visit, they will have some great tips to offer.
- Talk about the goodie bag. Each visit to the kids dentist can be an exciting time, especially when goodie bags are involved. Be sure to make this part of the conversation, since this can be a great part of getting your child excited about their visit.
- Watch videos about your child’s first dentist appointment. There are a number of great videos for your child to watch, which will give them a visual guide to their first dentist appointment. Here are some of our favorites:
The good news is that if you alert your dentist to the fact that this is your child’s first appointment, they are most likely to be very sensitive to that. Like a good kids dentist, one of our goals is to make that first visit as positive as possible, so if we don’t get everything done in that visit, it’s ok. Establishing a positive experience will go a long way to helping your child not be afraid of the process. You, as the parent, are an essential part of our dental team in helping this first visit be a good one.
Taking these tips for preparing will help both you and your child. They can help to eliminate any anxiety that might be at play—for both of you. Establishing your child’s expectations (and your own) goes a long way to remove the fear of the unknown. Visit our office for a tour (and to pick up your child’s free surprise!), read good books about your kids first dentist appointment, ask your friends for tips, mention the goodie bag, and watch helpful videos. And don’t forget to ask us any questions you might have. As a family dentist, we’ve been taking care of children’s teeth for many years and are here to help.