How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Dental Visit
When Should I Bring My Child to the Dentist?
The AAPD recommends that after a child has turned 1, they should be seen for their first dental visit. The point of this appointment is to help your child become use to the dentist and remove the fear out of going to the dentist. During that appointment, the child would receive an exam, a fluoride varnish, and some tips and trick to keep your child’s teeth clean and cavity free.
We recommend having your child seen as early as 1 to help stay on top of any foreseeable problems and keep your child’s teeth healthy. At PDAO, we do our best to keep this first exam very simple and very brief. If your child is 3 and under, it is very natural for child to have a fight or flight reaction to the appointment and we work with your child to help them through this. We also make sure to TELL, SHOW, and DO. We tell the child what is going to happen, we show the child what is going to happen, and then we perform the action. These steps help to alleviate any anxiety or worry your child may be experiencing.
So, How do I prepare my child for their first dental visit?
Here are few tricks and tips to try to help make your child’s first visit that best it can be!
- Do not let your fear or past experience interfere with your child’s 1st visit. Allow your child to have the best experience they can without any reason to fear.
- Let it be a surprise– Some children do better without preparation and having to think about going to the dentist.
- Get them excited about Oral Health care– Have your child pick out their own age appropriate tooth brush and talk about how they can take care of their own teeth.
- Have a mock dentist appointment. Create a mock dentist appointment with your child’s favorite stuff animal or baby doll at home. Some children may even want to bring that animal or baby doll to the dentist after the “mock visit”. These mock visits help prepare the child for the process of laying down and having their teeth brushed.
- Monitor Siblings– Make sure to not let older siblings unintentionally or intentionally scare your younger child into coming into the dentist. You may even consider, allowing your child to experience their first dentist appointment without their siblings.
- Read a Book– We recommend a couple books that help teach your child about the dentist.
- If the Dentist Were an Animal by Rachel Grider (A Dental Hygienist)
- What if You Had Animal Teeth? by Sandra Markle
All children are unique and will react differently to their first few visits to the dentist. We recommend the earlier, the better, so that your child will be use to the dentist when longer exams are required. Our staff is prepared and ready to help to make your child’s first visit the best as possible! If you have any questions, please feel free to drop by one of our two locations or give us a call at:
Fayetteville office: 479-582-0600
Bentonville office: 479-268-5000