Your Child's First Trip to the Dentist

Posted on: 25 January 2017

Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be a complex experience. When introducing your child to visiting the dentist, it is best to choose a dentist that specializes in infant and child dental care. It is recommended that you take your child to their first dental appointment just after their first birthday. Here are some things you can do to prepare your child to see the dentist for the first time.

Demonstrate How You Brush Your Teeth: When your child is about six months old, show him or her how you brush your own teeth so that your child can get an idea of what you will be doing in his or her mouth. Demonstrate brushing your teeth with plain water and after a few weeks begin to use toothpaste to brush your teeth. Demonstrate how to spit in the sink after brushing. 

Brush Your Child's Teeth Daily: When your child is about seven months old, begin brushing your child's teeth every day. At first, use only your finger and plain water. After a few weeks, use a child's toothbrush and a pea-size amount of toothpaste. These sessions will acquaint your child with someone putting their fingers and a tool in his or her mouth. 

Visit the Dentist Before Your Child's First Appointment: If your dentist is local, walk or drive over and introduce your child to the dentist. Show your child the dental chair where they will sit and show him or her the running water and the spit sink. Explain to your child that the dentist is the person that will help them have strong teeth and a healthy mouth. 

Go to Your Child's First Appointment: Once your child is familiar with the dentist, make an appointment for him or her to see the dentist. Tell your child that you will be there and that he or she can sit on your lap. Hold your child calmly and reassure them continually during the dental appointment. Allow your dentist to show your child many different things like the overhead light and the x-ray viewer. Your dentist will proceed at a pace that is appropriate for your child and will examine and clean his or her teeth. The dentist may even give your child some instructions on how to brush their teeth. 

Praise Your Child: During your child's dental appointment, give him or her praise when they open their mouth and spit in the spit sink. Make sure that they are aware that they are being good and that you appreciate their good behavior. 

Reward Your Child: When your child is through with their first appointment, the dentist will most likely give them a toy as a reward. After leaving the dentist, give your child another treat by taking them to the playground or to the beach to play in the water. This will reinforce that going to the dentist is a positive experience and one that is fun and enjoyable. 

Talk About The Dentist: Make another dental appointment for your child in a few months. During the time between appointments, continue to brush your child's teeth and teach them how to brush their own teeth. Talk to your child about the dentist to remind him or her that going to the dentist is a positive experience.  

Talking about the dentist and keeping your child thinking about the dentist will help him or her to accept the dentist as a regular part of their life. It is helpful to read some children's books that deal with going to the dentist and other dental concerns like losing baby teeth to your child. With continual positive reinforcement, your child will begin a lifetime of good dental habits and make you a very proud parent.

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