6 simple tips to prepare your child for his first dental appointment

Thursday, 31 October 2019

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As parents, instilling the value of proper dental hygiene to our child early on is most definitely one of our goals. As odd as it may sound though, but there is indeed something about dentists and dental chairs that terrify us to the bones no matter how we deny it. If a visit to the dentist intimidates us as adults, it is likewise natural for children to be scared of dentists especially during their first visit. After all, children react hesitantly to a new environment.

6 simple tips to prepare your child for his first dental appointment dentist's chair

6 simple tips to prepare your child for his first dental appointment


    However, the importance of visiting the dentist regularly to maintain oral health cannot be overemphasized. Children are not an exemption. In fact, our pediatric dentist advised us that consultation should start as early as one year old. As such, the only way to achieve this is for our kids to see their dentist as a friendly doctor who will help them keep their teeth and mouth healthy so that they can smile with confidence. 

    A child’s experience in his first dental appointment will more or less be the precedent for his succeeding visits to the dentist. A pleasant initial experience in the dentist’s chair will absolutely result to a more relaxed and blissful visits in the future. On the other hand, a not-so-good one may lead to your child dreading and abhorring his subsequent dental sessions. In the end, the goal is to make their first dental appointment as blissful as possible for our child.

    6 simple tips to prepare your child for his first dental appointment healthy teeth

    Do keep in mind though that your child will wail and resist the procedures during his first dental treatment. Just to reiterate, the presence of an unknown person poking an instrument in his mouth is already enough to cause stress and panic in a child. Thus, it is important to keep your baby as comfortable as you can during his first dental appointment. 

    Here are 6 simple tips to prepare your child for his first dental appointment and make sure that the experience is as smooth and as comfortable as possible: 

    1. Choose a good pediatric dentist


    6 simple tips to prepare your child for his first dental appointment dentist's instruments

    Deciding on a good pediatric dentist may seem hard and tricky but it’s actually fairly simple. How? Ask your pediatrician for their recommendation. There may be some reviews and articles online but the best people to ask are those with first-hand experience. Our son Miguel’s pediatrician also brings her daughter to the same pediatric dentist so it was easy for her to give us her recommendation.

    I could say that we made the right decision because the dentist was very careful with how she handled Miguel during the treatment. Her clinic was adorned with toys in every corner plus she had children’s videos and stories on hand to ensure that kids are well-entertained in her clinic.


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    2. Schedule the dental visit in the morning


    When we were preparing for Miguel’s first dental appointment, his pediatrician recommended that we schedule it in the morning. That way, he would have been well-rested, in a good mood, and generally still energetic. Our pediatric dentist also echoes this advice; she said that the best time for a visit to the clinic is in the morning.    

    3. Feed your baby before the appointment


    Miguel’s pediatric dentist also explained to us that children are not allowed to eat or drink anything 30 minutes after dental check up. Thus, it is best to give your child milk or food before the intended schedule. It was a good thing that we gave our son milk before his dental cleaning. Otherwise, it would have been a much chaotic session had he been hungry that time. After all, a hungry and uncomfortable child is more prone to having tantrum attacks.

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    4. Bring toys and books


    To make your baby relaxed or comfortable during his first trip to the dentist, bring with you his favorite toys and books. Furthermore, you may also want to curate a list of his favorite nursery rhymes or children’s video stories. It is no guarantee that videos will magically pacify your child while in the clinic but the happy music may help put him at ease. 

    5. Make him feel relaxed


    Daddy and Miguel
    Me and Miguel
    Talk to your child soothingly and assure him that the procedure will be all right. Do not put pressure on your baby or further burden them by raising your voice, talking to them in a sarcastic manner, or using a mocking tone. Assure them that being nervous is normal and provide affirmation that everything will go well and be fine.

    6. Be patient with your baby


    Bring with you an endless supply of patience. Honestly, despite all the initial preparations and all, expect endless crying and resistance from your child. You would have to exert extra effort to keep your baby still. And don’t expect your baby to cooperate because he will not. In the end, just do your best to restrain your baby without hurting him.

    6 simple tips to prepare your child for his first dental appointment toothbrush and toothpaste

    In summary, your baby’s first dental procedure could make or break his attitude towards his future dental treatments. Remember to give your baby a good first experience; keep him relaxed, comfortable, and generally happy before, during, and after treatment. That way, you are conditioning your baby that dentists are not horrible monsters that they should be afraid of. 

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