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Preparing Your Child for their First Dental Visit

April 25, 2024
Preparing Your Child for their First Dental Visit

Has your infant been more fussy than usual, drooling a lot, or wanting to “chew” on everything in sight? It sounds like it’s time for a tooth to break through! This is an important milestone for your child, as it marks the beginning of a lifelong journey of dental health. First things first…pick up the phone and call your local pediatric dentist to schedule the baby's first dental appointment. Between now and then, here’s some tips to help you and your little one prepare for the big day:

Start Brushing

Go ahead and show your child how to brush using a toddler toothbrush with water only. Don’t be surprised if he or she wants to chew on the toothbrush…that’s completely normal. Simply wait for them to release the brush and continue showing them how to gently glide the brush across their gums and emerging teeth. Their interest will be fleeting at first, but make brushing a morning and nighttime routine to establish healthy habits early.

Talk to Your Child About the Dentist

Talk to your child about who the dentist is, what their office looks like, what sounds they might hear, and anything else you can think of related to their upcoming dental visit. When children know what to expect, it eases their fear and anxiety significantly. An older sibling who has already been to the dentist can be a great way to teach your toddler about what to expect as well.

Role Play with Dentist Toys

Grab a pretend dental kit from your local store and play “dentist” with your kids. This will familiarize them with the tools they might see during their visit and what they will be asked to do (i.e. “sit here”, “lay back”, “open wide”, etc.)

Fill Out Paperwork Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than having a novel of paperwork to fill out with an anxious toddler on your hip, so save yourself the frustration and fill out that pesky paperwork before the appointment.

Eat Before the Appointment

Make sure you and your child both eat a light meal before the appointment. A hungry child is often a cranky child, and you don’t want their first dental visit to be scarred with negative memories. Make sure to help your child brush after they eat!

Let Them Know What to Expect

The night before their appointment, mention that their visit to meet the dentist is the next day. Answer any questions they may have to try to get ahead of any anxiety. The morning of their appointment, remind them that today is the day and be as enthusiastic as possible about the upcoming visit. Your child will mirror your own excitement, so try to project the positive emotions you want them to have. Communicate with your child about what is happening next as their appointment time approaches so they don’t feel surprised or caught off guard.

Frequently Asked Questions About the First Dental Visit

How old should my child be for their first dental visit?

When your child’s first tooth begins to emerge, or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. After their first visit, they should have follow-up visits at least twice each year.

What is done during the first dental visit?

During the first dental visit, the dentist and hygienists will introduce themselves to your child and show them the dental office and tools. Once your child is seated in the dental chair, the dentist will do a quick physical examination and tooth count, checking on the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth as well. They will also ask you questions about your child’s dietary habits, pacifier or bottle use, and family dental history. After the visit is complete, your child can expect a fun treat or toy on their way out.

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit at Briarcliff Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics

Your child’s first dental visit is their very first step towards great dental health for their entire life. If you’re in the Briarcliff Manor, NY area and your child is ready for their first dental visit, we’d love to be your first call. At Briarcliff Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we specialize in dental care for children from age 1 through early adulthood. Contact us at 914-762-6260 to schedule your child’s first dental visit today.

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Briarcliff Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics
77 Sunset Dr
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510
Tel: 914-762-6260 | Fax: 914-762-6284
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Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

77 Sunset Dr
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510
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