Your child should see a dentist within 6 months of getting their first baby tooth or by their first birthday. The first dental visit is important because it helps your child build a strong foundation for oral health.
Here’s what you need to know about getting your child ready for their first dental visit.
Whether you realize it or not, your words and actions have a lot of influence over your child’s attitude toward the dentist.
It’s important that you set an example for your child by acting relaxed or even excited about going to the dentist. They will pick up on your positive outlook and probably react in a similar way.
You may also frame this new experience as a sign that your child is growing up. This will help them feel pride in taking care of their health—a positive attitude they can carry with them for the rest of their life.
We encourage parents to talk with their children about the dentist before their first appointment. That way, your son or daughter will know what to expect and will feel confident in the chair.
Avoid using any words that may frighten your child. For example, don’t use words like “pain,” “shot,” or “drill.” Since we tend to keep the first visit simple, these words don’t even need to come up in conversation.
Instead, we recommend saying something to the effect of, “The dentist will need to take pictures of your smile and count your teeth.” You can even encourage your child to count your teeth or their own teeth. This type of role-playing will help tap into your child’s imagination and relieve any anxiety they may be feeling about their upcoming appointment.
The first appointment shouldn’t be too elaborate. Rather the focus is more on introducing your child to what the dentist is all about. Our pediatric dentist will discuss the importance of oral hygiene to your child in hopes of creating good dental habits.
Our dentist wants to help your child build a strong foundation for oral health. He does this by talking to your child about their oral health in a way they understand. Our entire team also goes above and beyond to make sure your child always feels comfortable and safe.
If you and our dentist both feel that your child is comfortable and ready, Dr. Kim will do a dental exam and possibly take X-rays.
Many children fear the dentist because of a bad first visit. The first dental visit will have a huge impact on how your child feels about the dentist, so it’s important to be prepared and take the necessary steps to have a successful first appointment.
By following the advice above, you’ll be on your way to having a stress-free first dental appointment with your child. It’s also worth mentioning that we allow parents to enter the treatment room with their child on their first visit so that the child always feels safe, comfortable, and secure.