How To Prepare Your Child For A First Dental Appointment

Fears of going to the dentist begin when children are small. There's something fearful about sitting in a chair with strangers in your face along with a bright light and seeing sharp metal tools. This can cause anxiety that your child can take from their childhood all the way into adulthood -- a fear that may lead to poor oral habits later down the road. Preparing your child for a first dental appointment is important to help ease fears and anxiety. See below for tips on how to prepare your child.

Keep Things Positive

Don't discuss needles, shots, or pain with your child, since early dental visits usually don't include actual drilling or numbing. Tell your child that the dentist will count his teeth, check to be sure he is brushing properly and that his teeth are healthy. Using positive words will help make your child feel more positive about going to the dentist.

Read Books About The Dentist

Reading books about going to the dentist or about teeth can help prepare your child for his first appointment as well. Look for books with your child's favorite characters such as "The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist" by Stan and Jan Berenstain or "Just Going To The Dentist" by Mercer Mayer. These books help explain going to the dentist in a way children can relate to and understand. 

Watch Movies

Movies or television shows about going to the dentist are also a good idea for young ones. Look for television shows or movies on different networks about going to the dentist, or even on-line that you may be able to stream. 

Play Role-Playing Games

Play a role-playing game about going to the dentist and have your child be the "dentist". Allow your child to look into your mouth, even count or brush your teeth for you. Acting out going to the dentist may help your child feel better about going in to see the dentist themselves.

Give Your Child Comforts From Home

Allow your child to bring in their favorite stuffed animal or toy while sitting in the chair to help him comfortable. Stay with your child and hold his hand if need be to make him feel safe and secure. You can also give your child sunglasses to help shield his eyes from the harsh over-head light.

Talk to your pediatric dentist ahead of time to see what other things you can do to make your child more comfortable about going to the dentist. The dental office, like Sunnyside Dentistry for Children, may offer some other tips to help make the appointment go smoothly and without any anxiety or fears.