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How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Visit to the Dentist

How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Visit to the Dentist

Your child’s first dental visit should occur between his or her first and second birthday. Unless there are dental issues, the general rule is about six months after the first tooth has erupted. Getting your child familiar with a trip to the dentist at an early age can help prevent issues with tooth decay. You can also learn how to clean your child’s teeth and identify specific dental needs your child may have. Surprisingly, dental decay can occur as soon as your child’s first tooth appears. Taking your child to the dentist early on can be the start of good oral care habits and better acclimation to having his or her teeth examined by a dentist. This leads to less fear and anxiety, which should make for stress-free dental visits as your child grows!  


Tips for Preparing for the First Visit

 The best way to prepare for the visit is to ask your dentist what procedures will be done to make sure that you won’t encounter any surprises. This will let you plan a course of action for any reaction your child may have. A very young child can be fussy and may not want to sit still. However, if you are calm and collected, your child will have a greater chance of being calm, too. While you may not be able to explain everything to a child between the age of 1 and 2, it is important to be positive and convey a happy tone to your child so that your child associates a trip to the dentist with positive experiences. Stickers, games, and a fun activity afterward may also help your child look forward to seeing the dentist regularly!  Before your first visit, try playing dentist with your child! Have them sit down in a chair while you count their teeth. You can even get your child in on the fun by letting them play the role of the dentist with a doll or stuffed animal. Easy, fun games like this will help put your child at ease and let them know what to expect at their first visit.


What Happens During the First Visit?

 The first visit is typically a meet and greet that is short and informal. The dentist or hygienist may clean your child’s teeth and a fluoride preparation may be applied. Your child’s dentist will most likely talk to you about good dental habits and answer any dental questions you might have. A short, successful visit can set the groundwork for future successful dental visits!


When Should a Pediatric Dental Appointment be Scheduled?

 It is best to schedule your child’s visit earlier in the day, so that he/she will be more alert and rested. If your child is under 36 months of age, you may need to sit with them in the dental chair and hold them during the examination. In some cases, the parent may be asked to wait in the reception area so that a firm dental relationship can be established between the child and the dentist.


When Should the Next Visit Be?

 Unless there is a specific dental issue, your child should see the dentist about every six months. In some cases, visits may be scheduled every three months to develop a rapport or to address a developing issue. Either way, your child’s dentist will let you know exactly how often they recommend bringing your child.When it comes to dealing with children, Stanley Dentistry has the knowledge and experience to ensure your child’s visit to the dentist is a successful one. We understand that each young patient is unique, and our talented dental professionals are adept at creating plans of treatment that meets your child’s individual dental needs. We love kids, and we look forward to helping yours! Learn more about our pediatric dentistry today!

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