A child’s initial visit to the dentist is one of the many firsts you will go through together
. No matter what your own feelings are about visiting the dentist, you will want to have a positive attitude about your child’s first appointment. There are several ways to make it exciting and fun and take some of the mystery (and possible anxiety) out of the visit.

Talk About Teeth

One way to introduce the idea of visiting the dentist is to read a book about teeth or tooth care. Look at the pictures and discuss what we need teeth for. Show your child your own teeth and count them together. Explain again why it is important to take care of them by brushing and flossing. Talk about how you go to the doctor for checkups of your body and how your teeth need checkups too. Give an idea of what the hygienist and dentist will be looking at and tools they may use and their purpose.

Do a Trial Run

Have your child pretend that they are visiting the dentist. Practice listening to directions and opening their mouth wide. Remind them that they will need to sit still in the very cool special chair. Warn them that there might be a bright light to help the dentist see better. Maybe they could even get their own new shades to help them stay brave. Many child friendly dentist offices already have amenities like this for kids. Give an example of some of the sensations they may feel at the visit. Talk about the water that may be sprayed in their mouth, noises they may hear, or pressure they may feel during their appointment. Practice sipping small amount of water and swooshing it around in your mouth. Show your kiddo how to gently spit the water out. Have them try these procedures so that they aren’t new at their first appointment.

Job Talk

Explain that it is the dentist’s job to make sure your teeth are shiny and clean. You can relate this to a variety of other jobs that you may have or that your child may understand. Remind them that to do certain jobs, people need special tools. Explain that this is why the dentist has cool tools and a special chair. It is important for them to let the dentist do his or her job by listening to directions and staying still.

Choosing Your Dentist

The first visit to the dentist can be made less stressful if you choose a kid friendly dentist. Most dentists work with kids at some point but some make it their business to work especially well with children. This can be a major bonus, especially for the first visit. Specialized dentists are aware of current techniques for children and can make the process a little easier for everyone involved.

The health of your child’s teeth depends on their oral care which includes visits to the dentist. This first visit can be a fun adventure with some planning and research about the right office for your child and family.