6 Tips for Your Child's First Dental Visit

Posted on: 29 June 2016

If you have had bad experiences with dental visits, the thought of taking your baby to see a dentist for the first time could be daunting. However, it's important to ensure your kids get the dental care they need. Use these six tips to make your child's first dental visit a manageable and beneficial experience for you and your child.

1. Don't Leave It Too Late

Ideally, babies should see a dentist by their second birthday or within six months of getting their first tooth. If your child is already over two years old, don't wait any longer to see a dentist. Waiting until your child has a cavity or other problem means that their first experience of the dentist will occur while they are in pain, which could create some negative associations for the child.

2. Know What to Expect

During the appointment, the dentist will check your child's teeth, gums, jaw and bite to make sure they are all healthy. The dentist may ask you to sit in the chair and hold your child during the checkup, which many infants find comforting. The dentist will also ask some questions about your child's diet, thumb-sucking habits and oral hygiene routine.

3. Have a Positive Attitude

Even if you hate going to the dentist, try to present it to your child as a positive experience. Explain that the dentist will help them have strong, healthy teeth, without scaring your child by talking about cavities, pain, drills or needles. During and after the appointment, praise your child for good behaviour, such as keeping still during the examination.

4. Arrive Early

Your child is less likely to feel frightened of the dentist if you appear relaxed. Keep stress at bay by arriving in plenty of time for the appointment, so you don't have to rush. Arriving early also gives your child time to become familiar with the waiting area. Bring a toy or picture book to keep boredom at bay.

5. Ask Questions

Before the appointment, write a list of questions that you want to ask the dentist. This may include asking for advice about cleaning your child's teeth. Writing your questions down will help you remember what you wanted to ask.

6. Schedule Your Child's Next Appointment

Your dentist will let you know when your child should return for the next check up. In general, toddlers should see a dentist roughly once every six months, as long as they don't develop any problems before that time. Schedule the appointment before you leave the dentist's office so it doesn't slip your mind.