We have a lot of parents ask us when they should bring their child in for their first dentist appointment, as well as wondering what to expect during the first appointment. We recommend that your child starts coming to the dentist young enough that it becomes a habit rather than something they feel anxiety around.
When should my child’s first dental visit be?
We recommend having your child come in for their first visit around 6 months after their first tooth pushes through. The first visit is usually around 30-45 minutes long, which is enough time for us to get a quick look at your child’s teeth, as well as help them feel comfortable and familiar with the dentist setting.
Easing an anxious child
Some children can feel really anxious about going to the dentist, especially for the first time. If they aren’t sure what is happening and why, they can get upset. This is why we suggest starting dental visits at such a young age, to prevent the onset of dental anxiety in your young child. If you personally have dental anxiety, try not to relay this to your child. They can pick up on these feelings and can mimic and adopt the way that you feel.
Preparation for your first appointment
To prepare for your child’s first dental appointment, you should tell them a lot about it! If they understand what’s happening and why, they are going to be a lot less scared coming into the office. Explain why we take care of our teeth, that the dentist will be looking at their teeth, and that it will be a fun experience. Often, during the first appointment, the dentist will do a quick examination of the teeth, and may demonstrate how to do proper cleaning at home. Depending on the age of your child, they may do a cleaning. This is also a great time to voice any dental hygiene questions you may have to your dentist, and learn ways to prevent decay to strengthen their teeth.