Bringing your child to their first dental appointment can be a nervewracking experience for both the child and the parent. Your kid is probably nervous about going to a doctor and what they might experience at the dentist, and as a parent, you’re probably worried about how well your kid will handle the stress of a dentist visit. Use these top tips to make sure your child is ready to tackle their first dental appointment with as little stress as possible.
- Find a pediatric dentist: Having a dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry, rather than general practice, guarantees your dentist knows how to handle childhood anxiety about the dentist. Pediatric dental clinics make sure to hire skilled dentists who can calm nervous children while also providing high-quality care, so you can rest assured that your child will be alright regardless of how nervous they are when walking in.1
- Start them off early: The earlier your child starts going to the dentist, the easier it will be for them to get accustomed to going to dentist appointments. Children should start going to the dentist as soon as baby teeth start to come in, as early as age one. Starting them early with a good pediatric dentist will help ensure that they’re more comfortable with their dentist appointments as they grow.
- Take care of teeth before visiting: It’s obviously important to take care of your child’s teeth, but this can begin well before scheduling your first dental appointment. Good dental care can start as soon as your baby’s teeth are visible, which typically begins at approximately four months of age. Initially, you may want to use a washcloth to clean your child’s teeth and eventually move to a small toothbrush. Make sure you skip fluoride toothpaste for any child age 2 or younger, however, as it can potentially be harmful for children that young.
Taking steps early to help your child keep their teeth healthy can make their first dental appointment go much more smoothly with less stress for you and your child. A first dentist appointment can be difficult for your child, but with the right preparation, it doesn’t have to be.