The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit no later than their first birthday. These early appointments are extremely important for your child’s oral health and development. They also allow your child to become familiar and comfortable with the practice, making future visits pleasant. Most often, the anxiety that is portrayed by your child stems from fear of the unknown. Below are some tips that will help your child’s visit be the best that it can be!
- The first step starts with a positive attitude towards oral hygiene at home. Make brushing and flossing a fun and enjoyable routine. Sing songs, count teeth and allow them to be involved by touching and holding their toothbrush.
- Play pretend dentist at home. Pretend you are the dentist and ask them to sit in a chair as you count their teeth. Switch roles and allow your child to be the dentist as well. You can use a mirror, toothbrush and stuffed animal as props.
- Read books about brushing teeth or going to the dentist. (Example: Peppa pig: Dentist trip, The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, Daniel Goes To The Dentist)
- Kids do well when they have good role models. Bring your child to your dental cleaning appointment and allow them to watch. If they have an older sibling that has been coming to the dentist, they can accompany them as well.
- Tell your child about their first dental visit the morning of the appointment, or one day before. We don’t recommend that parents tell their child about their first dentist appointment too far in advance. Surprising them with their first dental visit right before the appointment is also not recommended.
- Familiarize your child with the office by allowing them to see photos of the office and the staff through our website. If you would like a tour of the office prior to their visit please do not hesitate to call and schedule.
- Allow your child to bring a stuffed animal or toy to help them feel safe and secure.
- Some parents are afraid of the dentist themselves, make sure you do not relay any of those fears to your child. Use only positive words and emotions regarding the dentist. Avoid using words such as “drill”, “pain”, “needle”, “shots” or “hurt”.
- Plan something special or have a toy for your child if they do well with their visit. Positive reinforcement can go a long way.
We are here for you and your child for their first dental visit. Please contact us with any questions.