The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children visit the dentist for their first appointment no later than their first birthday. Early visits allow the dentist and parents to work together to keep a child’s oral development on track all the way through adolescence and adulthood. Likewise, when kids are introduced to the dentist at a young age, they become more comfortable with regular visits and develop a positive relationship with their dentist from the beginning.
Since going to the dentist can be intimidating for patients of every age, it is important for parents to prepare their child for the first appointment to help ensure a good first impression — and positive, successful visits in the future.
The following tips can help ease anxiety surrounding early dental care and help your child have a great first appointment.
Practice Dental Care at Home
Set aside time every morning and night to help your child clean his or her teeth. Let your child select a fun, kid-friendly toothbrush and flavored toothpaste to make the experience more enjoyable. When you talk about the dentist, speak positively, discussing all of the benefits of visiting a dentist’s office for regular checkups and cleanings. You can even role-play a trip to the dentist at home, read about visiting the dentist, or watch videos about dentistry to help ease any fears your child has about future appointments.
Choose Appointment Times Wisely
When scheduling your child’s appointment, consider a time of the day when your child will feel his or her best. If your child is well-rested and cooperative in the morning, aim to book a visit during this time. On the other hand, it may be wise to avoid bringing your child for a checkup during his or her scheduled naptime or mealtime. Generally, the better a child’s mood, the more positive the visit will be for everyone.
Be a Good Role Model
As the parent, you play a major part in how your child views the dentist and his or her oral health. Take time to prioritize your oral hygiene. By inviting your child to watch you brush and floss at home, you can model the proper ways to care for your teeth and gums daily. As your child observes your dedication to keeping your teeth healthy, he or she will also learn to prioritize dental health.
Choose a Kid-Friendly Dentist
When selecting a dentist for your child and family, choose a dental professional who has experience working with kids. The right practice will have an inviting office and friendly staff that helps kids feel comfortable and relaxed during cleanings or procedures. At McLean DDS, we have years of experience caring for the unique dental needs of our youngest patients.
Working together, you and our staff can promote comprehensive oral health habits to prevent dental diseases, reduce cavities and keep your child smiling for a lifetime!