Your child's first visit to the dentist!
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
At Fine Smiles Dental we see children of all ages and have dentists who are parents of young children themselves.
We understand that a new environment can be daunting and that you may have many questions about how to best prepare your little one. We want to help you to prepare your child for a wonderful relationship with their teeth and their dentist, so we have prepared a list of tips we hope you will find helpful.
When should we visit? We usually recommend an official visit at 2 years old. However, prior to this it is also nice for your kids to follow you to your own checkup appointments just to become familiar with the clinic without the pressure of getting into the chair themselves. As they warm up to us we may see if we can take a peek while they’re in your lap.
What should I expect during our first visit? We like to keep things light and fun at the first appointment for your child. Typically we will offer them a ride in the chair, coax them to open wide (like a lion roaring) and count their teeth. We also review brushing habits, diet and keep an eye on the development of their jaws. If you have a child who takes a while to warm up don’t worry! We know that some children will hop straight in the chair and others will need a few visits to feel comfortable. We will be tailoring your visit to your child's temperament. At the end of the visit your child will also receive a show bag filled with goodies to remember us by.
How can I make the visit fun and exciting for my child? Children like things that are familiar, so it helps to prep them a little with discussions at home about the dentist in the weeks leading up to your visit. Keep the topics light hearted and easy. Talk about counting their teeth, opening wide like a crocodile and riding in the special chair that goes up and down. Avoid negatives like fillings and extractions. We want them to feel the dentist is going to be a pleasant experience.
It can be beneficial to read books or watch videos about visiting the dentist. This will be a good opportunity to open a conversation about their upcoming visit and what to expect.
Some great videos include:
Some wonderful books about first visiting the dentist:
Tips and trick
Arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment. This gives you time to fill out the all important new patient form and also allows you to be unhurried. Your child will have time to see, smell and hear the practice so they can be settled in before the nurse calls him or her in.
Remember to talk about the upcoming visit in a positive light.
Bring a favourite toy for company.
Pop on a favourite superhero costume or clothes and emphasise to your child how brave they are coming to the dentist!
Watching an older sibling who manages well at the dentist can be very helpful.
By Dr. Marilyn Ong
Associate Dentist Fine Smiles Dental