We typically recommend bringing your child in to see a pediatric dentist within six months of the first tooth erupting or at one year of age. Our children’s dentists take the time to get to know your family’s dental history and establish a trustworthy patient-dentist relationship with your child.
On your child’s first appointment, the dentist can give you more information on:
- Mouth cleaning
- Finger-sucking habits
- Teeth grinding habits
- Pacifier habits
- Baby bottle tooth decay
- Proper brushing techniques for toddler
Your child’s first few dentist visits can come with a bit of discomfort and fear. Although pediatric dentists are trained to care for children and know certain techniques to help make them feel at ease in the dentist’s chair, there are some things you can do to help prepare your child for a dentist visit.
1. Time the appointment well
You know your child best and are in tune with their moods throughout the day. Choose a time where they’re more likely to be calm and curious. We recommend avoiding sugar before the visit and arrive early so your child can get comfortable in the environment.
2. Read books and watch videos
In the days leading up to the appointment, it helps to read children’s books and watch videos on visiting the dentist. Most children’s animated programs have episodes of visiting the dentist, like this one and there are plenty of picture books available.
We recommend the Berenstain Bears ‘Visit The Dentist’ and ‘Just Going to the Dentist’ by Mercer Meyer. Books and videos expose children to the world of dentistry in a friendly and familiar way.
3. Play pretend
A great way to prepare your child for a dentist visit is to play “trip to the dentist”! Demonstrate brushing teeth with a stuffed animal and then pretend to be a dentist while your child is the patient. Take turns in a pretend dentist chair and talk to them about visiting the dentist.
What you can expect at your child’s dentist visit
Depending on your child’s age, the first visit can last between 30 – 45 minutes. It may include an examination of the teeth, bite, jaws, and gums to check growth and development. This is a great opportunity to ask your dentist about helping your child develop healthy oral hygiene habits, any potential issues based on the family’s dental history, and nutrition that will help your child grow healthy teeth and gums.