How to Prepare Your Child for a Visit to the Dentist

Young boy hiding behind a teddy bear scared of the dentist

The big day is coming up for your child, another milestone in the ever-progressing process of growing-up—their first visit to the dentist! This is an exciting time for a parent as you start to see your children transform before you into the adults they will be.

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Good oral health and oral hygiene routines are important to the children’s development. You want them to become accustomed to their dental visits and even enjoy the experience.

So how do you prepare your child for a visit to the dentist, whether it’s the first, second, or twelfth time there?

Start Early!

When your infant turns one year old, or the first tooth erupts, it’s a good time to start going to the pediatric dentist. This creates a routine early in life (before they even have the capacity to dislike it) and gives your child an experience to draw on to say, “It’s not that bad at all.”

Finding a good dental office with staff members who know how to work with children and are experienced with pediatric dentistry can go a long way to making the first and subsequent visits positive.

Start Oral Hygiene at Home

The only time it’s too early to start talking oral health with your child is before they have any teeth. But the first tooth usually comes in within or shortly after the first birthday, which means including teeth talk, oral hygiene practices, and other steps to get your child ready to care for their teeth can come early in development.

When it’s time to visit the dentist, your child will understand why you’ve made an appointment.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Your children will pick up on your attitude, no matter how deep you try to mask it. That’s why it is important to keep a positive attitude about the dentist, especially if you have a fear of dental work.

By using positive language, speaking of the visit in exciting terms, and engaging in dialogue with your kids about oral health, you can better prepare them for a dental visit.

Games and Stories

Kids love games; kids love stories. When you know a visit to the dentist is on the horizon, start including books about teeth and going to the dentist in your reading time. Try turning brushing your teeth into more of a fun game by including singing, a sticker chart for completion, and any other strategies that work to excite your child.

By bringing fun into the experience of oral health, you’ll make a visit to the dentist something your children want to do.

Bring Bunkie, the Support Bear

Your child’s “Bunkie” may be a blanket or a different plush toy; it could be an action figure or an orange dump truck. Whatever object your child gravitates to for feelings of security and support, make sure to bring it along. Lay the groundwork early by saying, “Bunkie loves to visit the dentist and has been looking forward to it all week!”

Ultimately, you know the best way to talk to your children and how best to convince them of the importance of different things. Use those methods, supported by the tips listed above, and you’re in for a delightful visit to your local pediatric dentist’s office and a future of healthy, beaming teeth.