How should you prepare your child for their first dental visit? | Dental Treatment Guide

It is very important that you take your child for regular dental check ups so that they learn about oral health care and you can ensure they teeth and gums are healthy. In general, the purpose of the first visit to the dentist is to tell them about why keeping their mouth healthy and cared for is important. It will also allow you to learn how to best look after your child's teeth, as all children are individual and require different levels and methods of care. Not only this, but the appointment will allow your child to build up a level of trust with the dentist so that any subsequent visits are met without fear or anxiety – a common problem among many children.

Preparing your child

It is rather important that you prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist so that are aware of what to expect. You should also have a think about what you feel you need to know about caring for your child's teeth and gums as well as what kind of dentist you are looking for and your expectations of the clinic and it's staff. You may also wish to generate a few questions to ask the dentist, especially if you have concerns or queries you wish to settle.

What to look for in a dentist and dental clinic

There are a number of things that you should look for when choosing which dentist to enrol your child with. These can be generalised into a pinpoint list of what to consider:

  • How friendly and welcoming the dentist is to both you and your child.
  • You should ensure that the dentist is both knowledgeable and experienced in terms of caring for the teeth and gums of children.
  • The dentist should respond quickly and appropriately to any issues you may have.
  • The dentist should make your child feel comfortable and trusting in their care, this includes being tolerant with your child even if they are posing to be difficult or impatient.
  • The chosen dentist should be completely focussed on the requirements of your child.
  • Any recommendations made during any appointments should be specific and appropriate to your child.
  • The dental clinic should be able to provide sufficient information on how you can contact them in an emergency.
  • The dentist should be able to give a good amount of information about what is next in terms of the development of your child's teeth and gums.
  • The dentist and the clinic should impart helpful advice about how to maintain you child's oral health at home between appointments.

General Advice

There are some general points that you should consider prior to taking your child for their first dental appointment. Firstly, you must prepare yourself for the possibility that your child may be difficult or fussy during their examination, however some children are very accepting and passive at their first visit.

Sometimes it is also advised that another adult, preferably the child's other parent or another relative or family friends accompany you. This gives you some freedom to question the dentist on certain areas in depth and can carefully listen to their answers. You may also wish to bring along a snack, diaper (or nappy) and/or perhaps a toy. This can make your child feel more comfortable and safe.

If you want limit the amount of time you have to spend at the clinic, then you may want to request that any registration forms are sent to your home to fill out prior to the appointment. These forms can also give you more information about the clinic so you can formulate appropriate questions.

Further Information about Childrens Dental Appointments