Preparing Your Young Child For The First Dental Appointment

Some parents think that they need to wait until their child is a toddler to take them into the dentist. However, says that you should be taking your child in by their first birthday or when their baby teeth start erupting. Although your child might not be needing a deep cleaning yet, these visits are important to educate parents on proper dental hygiene and to prepare children for future visits. Here are some ideas to make this first appointment a success

Look for a family dentist or pediatric dentist

Some general dentists mainly focus on older patients, but family dentists and pediatric dentists know how to work with young children. Many family dentists have offices with open-bay concepts; this means that your child can see other children getting cleanings. Seeing how other children in the office can help your child feel calmer and braver since he or she will see other children going through the same thing. 

Ask to sit with your child

A lot of dentists will allow a parent to sit with their child in their lap during the exam. Since your child will be sitting with you, he or she won't be as scared of the dentist.

Read books about dental offices

Check out your local library for early-learning books about dental offices. There are lots of great picture books that will teach your child about what the dentist does and why he or she is there to help them. Young children can be scared of dentists, so reading children's books about dentists can help them feel more comfortable when you take them in for a visit.

Practice good habits now

There are baby toothbrushes that you can use on baby teeth and gums. Help your child use these toothbrushes while they are young so that they develop good habits early. When your child goes into the dentist for a check-up, he or she won't be as startled by the checkup since he or she will be used to brushing.

Don't pass on your own fears

A lot of adults dislike going to the dentist; there are some people who are so afraid that they need sedation dentistry to get through a visit. Be sure to speak positively about the dentist's office, even if you don't like going yourself. Your young child will be more likely to have a good experience if they see you setting a good example.

Contact a local family dentistry for more ideas on how to make your child's first visit a good experience.