5 Tips as You Prepare for Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

Don't sweat your child's first dental appointment

Preparing for your baby’s first dental appointment can be both exciting and overwhelming. You’re excited because your little one is approaching a new milestone, but you may be a bit worried because you aren’t sure how your baby will react and behave at their visit. 

These emotions are normal for parents who haven’t brought their child to the dentist before. But, the good news is that this critical milestone is on your radar, and you are taking the proper steps to prepare so that your child’s first dental appointment goes as smoothly as possible.

Don’t delay your child’s first dental appointment.

Early dental appointments are vital in ensuring your baby’s smile is healthy and that their oral development is on the right track. The American Dental Association, and the team at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry, recommend that your child have their first dental appointment by age one or as soon as their first tooth appears. So what can you do to help ensure your child’s first dental appointment goes as swimmingly as possible? Read on for some easy tips.

1. Prepare your own mindset.

Little kids pay attention to what their parents say and do. So, if you are feeling any dental anxiety or apprehension about your child’s first dental appointment, be sure to express those feelings when your child is out of sight and earshot. If your child picks up on your dental anxiety, they are more likely to experience it too. Read up on what to expect during your child’s first dental appointment so that you can answer any questions your child might have. Knowing what to expect can also help ease your own concerns. 

But most importantly, remember that by bringing your child to the dentist early, you are taking the most critical step in protecting their oral health. And the team at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry has been in the dental business for years. We’re professionals at working with kids (and parents) and making sure their visit is comfortable and enjoyable. 

Finally, remember that the first visit is usually short and straightforward. We’ll take a look at your child’s mouth to determine if a cleaning is needed. And, we’ll ensure there is plenty of time for you to ask us any questions you have.

2. Talk to your child ahead of time. 

While it might be a bit harder to tell your baby that they are going to the dentist, if you have waited, and your child is a bit older, be sure to spend some time talking to them about what to expect. Make sure your child knows that you will be with them the entire time. And, be sure to keep it simple. Avoid using words such as “pain,” “scary,” “hurt,” or “shot.” Instead, show enthusiasm and talk to your child about the importance of a healthy smile and how their pediatric dentist is a trusted adult.

3. Be prepared with your child’s medical records.

Dentists can make a much more informed decision about any dental treatments your child might need if they have broader visibility into your child’s overall health. Be sure to bring along any medical records and make a list of any questions you want to ask at your child’s first dental appointment. If your child’s pediatric dentist in Vancouver, Washington, notices anything out of the ordinary, they can refer you back to your child’s physician as appropriate.

4. Participate in some dental-themed activities.

Children of all ages enjoy watching videos of their favorite characters, learning new songs, or playing fun games. So, get into the spirit of preparing for your child’s first dental appointment by participating in some dental-themed activities. 

For example, have your child brush their teeth (or brush their teeth for them) to the tune of a tooth-friendly song. Two of our favorites are the “Tooth Brushing Song” by Blippi and Barney’s “Brushing My Teeth” song. Or read your child some books about oral health. Little kids will especially enjoy “Daniel Goes to the Dentist” and “The Tooth Book” by Dr. Seuss. And if a game is more up your child’s alley, try Hasbro’s Crocodile Dentist Game.

5. Offer your child a tooth-friendly reward for a successful first dental appointment.

Kids love little snacks and trinkets. And going to the dentist is a great reason for a child to be rewarded with something a little special. These rewards don’t always need to be food items either. Consider creating a reward jar that allows your child to select an item when they behave for certain occasions. Let your child help select what will go in the reward jar too. Many of our patients add Goldfish cracker packs, stickers, bubbles, Pokemon cards, and other fun items that their children will be sure to enjoy.  

Schedule your child’s first dental appointment with Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry. 

Whether you are scheduling your child’s first dental appointment or you are looking for a new pediatric dentist, we’re confident that Dr. Mo and Dr. G are two of the best kids’ dentists in the Vancouver, Washington, area. The truth is, we love kids and aim to be the best pediatric dentists anywhere! 

And when it comes to taking your kid to the dentist, you should understand the benefits of visiting a pediatric dentist vs. making a trip to your own general dentist. We’re trained to work with kids and know many tricks to make them feel comfortable. So, request an appointment today, and we’ll look forward to seeing you and your child real soon.