How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dentist Appointment

Going to the dentist for the first time can be nerve-wracking and strange. Here's our best tips for talking to your child about their first dentist appointment

Did you know that around 20% of all children from 5 to 11 years old have at least one untreated cavity? You can prevent these issues and other oral problems through routine dental visits. 

Scheduling your child's first dentist visit might feel exciting and terrifying at the same time, but it's the best thing you can do for your child's oral health.

However, you might wonder how you can prepare your child for this visit. After all, going to the dentist for the first time is a new experience that might worry or scare a child.

You can prepare your child for this first visit through the proper steps, and this guide offers the best tips for you to follow.

Bring Your Child With You to Your Visits

Your child's first dental appointment might be more successful if they are acquainted with the clinic before their first visit. A great way to achieve this is by bringing your child with you to your visits.

Then, you can schedule an appointment for your child at the same clinic. Your child will be familiar with this clinic by attending your visits with you. 

While you're at your visit, your child can see the office and meet the staff. They can also witness you in the dentist's chair receiving services. Kids tend to feel less nervous when visiting familiar places.

You can explain to the staff why you brought your child to your visit. Dentists understand this concept and work hard to make kids feel comfortable, even when they're there for a parent's visit. 

Play "Dentist" and Read Books

Kids love stories and playing games involving their imagination. Many children also love role-playing games. Using these concepts to prepare your child for their first dental checkup might help reduce their fears. 

First, you might want to purchase a couple of books about dentists or check some out at your local library. Once you have the books, read them to the child.

Children's dentist books inform kids of several things, including the importance of caring for their teeth. They also help kids learn that dentists are friendly and checkups are fun.

Playing "dentist" is also helpful for kids who enjoy role-playing games. You can grab a few toys or objects from a children's doctor kit as the "dental instruments." 

Next, you can have your child sit in a chair and pretend you're the dentist. Then you can walk through the standard steps of a dental visit. After that, trade places with your child and let them be the pretend dentist. 

Tell Them Just Before Their Visit

Another thought to consider is waiting to tell your child about their dental visit until the appointment day. If you tell your child too soon, they might develop fears about going. 

Additionally, some kids get so excited about an event that they keep asking their parents when it will take place. If you want to avoid these repetitive questions, wait to tell them. Your child will have less time to think about the visit, which means less time to worry about it.  

Choose a Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry designed just for kids. A children's dentist understands how to work with kids and the unique needs that kids have. 

Therefore, it might be helpful to choose a pediatric dentist. Many clinics operate as family clinics. These offices provide services for the entire family. Axiom Dentistry is an example. 

The point of choosing a child's dentist is that kids have different dental needs than adults. Additionally, kids have different temperaments and personalities than adults. 

Your child might enjoy the appointment more if they meet with a pediatric dentist. They might have fewer fears, too, and they might look forward to future visits.

Talk Positive 

Around 36% of the population has dental fears, and many adults won't even visit dentists because of their fears. Dental fear occurs for many reasons, including the following:

Kids tend to fear things that their parents fear. As a result, your words matter, and this is especially true when talking about the dentist. 

If your children hear you talking about your fears or bad experiences at your last dental visit, they're more likely to develop fears about going. When children are scared to go to the dentist, they might fight their parents.

Therefore, talking about the dentist in positive ways is one of the best things you can do for your kids. Let them hear you talk about how you enjoy going to the dentist and how good your teeth feel and look afterward. 

Your positivity can sway their opinions to positive ones and minimize the fear of the unknown. 

Discuss the Visit With the Dental Office

Finally, when you find a dentist for kids, you can contact them to discuss the visit. You might want to ask what they do during a first visit and if they offer options. 

Many dentists use a child's first visit to prepare a child for upcoming visits. They explain things to children at the first visit and keep it fun and positive. They might also offer prizes and encouragement.

The goal is to ensure that the child enjoys the first visit and wants to return to the office. 

Visit a Family Dentist for the First Dentist Appointment  

Family dentists offer services for kids, adults, and seniors. If you choose a family dentist, you can go to the same clinic as you take your child for their first dentist appointment. 

Are you looking for a great dentist? If so, contact Axiom Dentistry. We offer seven locations in North Carolina and services for your entire family.