Your Child's First Dentist Appointment: Calming His Fears

The day your child is old enough to go to his first dentist appointment is a landmark occasion, but it can also be stressful and scary for your little one. He might have heard stories from other children or siblings that scare him; this can make it difficult for him to relax and may even lead to tears or a tantrum.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do as a parent to calm your child's fears. Here are a few tips to help make going to the dentist for the first time more enjoyable for your child (and for you)!

Talk Things Through Beforehand

It helps to talk things through and cover what to expect before ever setting foot in the dentist's office. You can explain to your child that the dentist and his staff are there to help him, not hurt him, and that feeling nervous is normal. Encourage him to ask the dentist as many questions as he likes in order to feel comfortable.

Keep It Fun

Let your child bring something familiar and fun with him - perhaps a favorite toy or a coloring book and some crayons. Keeping him distracted will make it easier on both of you if he gets fidgety or anxious. If this happens, keep calm and always maintain a supportive and loving attitude toward your child.

Praise and Reward Your Child Afterward

Most dentists do a good job making children happy by providing some form of a reward after a visit. Some dentists will give your child a dental care kit that includes a brush, toothpaste, floss, and a toy or stickers. If your dentist doesn't do this, consider making a kit of your own. Praise your child for his bravery, and let him know that you will help him keep his teeth clean so that future dentist appointments are quick and easy. You might even provide a treat, such as a lollipop — just make sure he brushes afterward!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Cleaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.