Preparing Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

Preparing Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

A child’s first dentist appointment can be just as overwhelming for parents as it is for the toddler. However, dental visits early in life are critical for ensuring both healthy teeth and proper oral development. The earlier a child visits their dentist, the quicker they will become acquainted and comfortable with the process, allowing them to cultivate a lifelong habit of maintaining good oral health.

At Baxter Dental Group, our goal is to assist every member of the family with achieving a healthy, beautiful smile. When you take your child to our office for their first visit, we will ensure both you and your little one are comfortable and happy. We’ll educate you on how to best care for your child’s teeth, while your toddler has the opportunity to become familiar with visiting the dentist. Contact us today to schedule their appointment!

Tips for the First Dentist Appointment

Certain steps can be taken to adequately prepare your child for their first dental visit. The goal is to show them the importance of proper lifelong dental care. Some actions you can take include:

Staying Optimistic

When preparing your child for their first appointment, it’s important to remain positive, regardless of how you feel about the dentist. We’ve seen parents inflict their dental anxiety onto their children at an early age, which sets them up for a lifetime of nervousness. As a result, when the child grows older, it’s likely that they won’t maintain a healthy regimen of brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting the dentist for regular professional cleanings.

When speaking about the appointment, brush your negativity aside and avoid discussing painful, unenjoyable experiences. Keep an upbeat attitude and put your child at ease. Assure them that there won’t be shots and that the dentist will simply count and brush their teeth. Then, when it’s time for the visit, they will be comfortable and relaxed.

Reading Books, Watching Videos, and Playing Games

Children learn best when they’re having fun! Numerous books and videos have depicted the first dentist appointment. When kids see their favorite characters visiting the dentist, they’ll be more willing to do the same. They’ll have an idea of what to expect as well, since the goal of books and videos is to demystify the experience.

Playing “dentist” can also help your little one prepare. Start by seating them in a chair and playing the role of the dentist. Count their teeth and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean them. Then, let them be the dentist, whether they perform a simple exam on you or a stuffed animal.

Waiting to Tell Them

When children don’t know what to expect, it’s likely their imagination will run amuck. Telling them about their appointment too far in advance can lead to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. On the other hand, it’s also not a good idea to announce their visit by simply arriving at the dental office without warning. The best time to discuss the visit varies from child to child, but telling them the day before and implementing the tips is a good bet.

What Happens at the First Dentist Appointment?

During the first visit, our dentists, Dr. Wehrmeister and Dr. G’Sell, will examine your child’s teeth to ensure everything is growing and developing properly. They’ll check for any injury or areas of concern while counting their teeth and cleaning each one. The exam and cleaning itself will only take a few minutes; the majority of the appointment is dedicated to ensuring your child is relaxed and answering your questions.

Our dentists will tell you everything you need to know about how to best care for your child’s dental hygiene. They will recommend the following to ensure strong, healthy teeth and gums:

  • Type of toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Proper brushing and flossing practices
  • How to relieve any discomfort
  • Which foods and drinks cause cavities in children
  • Answers to any questions you may have

It’s important to note that it’s completely normal if your child cries or refuses to open their mouth. After all, the dental appointment is an entirely new experience for them. Our dentists have seen it all, and our friendly team will do everything they can to help your child relax.

Following Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Once the appointment is complete, discuss the positive aspects that occurred with your child. Talk with them about the new prize and toothbrush they received, how nothing hurt, the taste of the toothpaste, and any other optimistic observations. Doing so allows them to be more relaxed when it’s time for their next appointment.

After their visit, reward them for being brave and facing their fears by taking them to the park or the toy store. They will associate positivity with their dentist visits, which will make future appointments easier. The most prominent aspect you should stress is that the dentist is not scary; rather, they are helping your child stay strong and healthy.

Start Your Child’s Journey to Proper Oral Hygiene Today

At Baxter Dental Group, we take pride in building long-term relationships with every patient and teaching them how to maintain good oral health, from children to seniors. We know how stressful the first dentist visit can be, so we work to ensure that children are happy and relaxed. Our office in Ballwin serves as a central location for patients across the St. Louis area, including Manchester and Ellisville.

Starting dental care early allows our experienced dentists to both monitor and treat present issues as well as prevent future problems. Schedule your child’s appointment today to start their journey to strong oral health!