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Tips to Prepare Kids for Their First Visit to the Dentist

Tips to Prepare Kids for Their First Visit to the Dentist

Feeling anxious about taking kids to the dentist? Don’t fret! You can help your little ones prepare for the visit and make it a pleasant experience. Read on for tips by Dentists Connect to get your kids ready for their first dental visit:

Explain What to Expect

Before a child’s first appointment, it is important to explain what they will experience while they are there. Begin by offering basic information and talking about the importance of regular dental visits. Explain why they are going to the dentist and let them know that the dentist is there to help ensure their teeth remain healthy.

Also discuss that your child will be sitting in a big chair, looking up at the dentist with bright lights. Mention specifically how tools like a mirror, probe, brush, and suction may be used during an oral exam. Try not to make any of these tools seem scary or intimidating; instead, focus on how these tools can help keep their teeth healthy.

No matter how much your child learns at home or in health courses at school, it is important to prepare them for their first visit by talking openly about dentistry in general and specifically what will happen at their appointment.

Dental-themed Books & Tv

Introducing children to the idea of visiting the dentist through dental-themed books and television can help normalize the process and reduce their anxiety.

For example, young children may enjoy reading “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist” by Stan & Jan Berenstain. This charming tale follows Brother and Sister Bear to their first appointment with a friendly family dentist.

These fictional depictions can help children feel more comfortable with what might otherwise be an intimidating experience. It is also important for adults to talk openly about dental care and visit their own dentists so that kids get positive examples from those around them.

Play Dentist With Your Kids

Playing dentist with your kids is a great way to help them get ready for their first trip to the dental office. You can make it a fun game by using simple supplies like a toothbrush, safety tools such as cotton swabs, and plastic toy dentistry instruments. Introducing the tools and explaining each one’s use will give your children an understanding of what will be used during their visit.

Additionally, role-playing scenarios that walk through common activities at the dentist, such as brushing and flossing, going over x-rays, and having a cleaning exam can help your kids feel comfortable with what will happen in the chair.

Schedule a Morning Appointment

When scheduling an appointment, it is best to choose a time in the morning. Kids will have more energy and are more likely to stay focused on the appointment. Also, fewer people are likely to be in the office at this time of day. This may provide a less intimidating environment for your child’s first visit to the dentist.

In addition, another benefit of scheduling a morning appointment is that your child can get used to their dental routine early in the day so they can then enjoy their activities later on without worrying about their visit. When preparing for the visit, parents may want to conduct mock scenarios for activities such as counting teeth or getting acquainted with instruments and tools used at dental appointments. This can help instill a sense of comfort as your child enters into a new experience.

Bring Toys to Your Kids’ Appointment

Taking your kids to the dentist for their first checkup can be an intimidating experience for both you and them. To ease both of your anxiety, bringing a favorite toy or stuffed animal to the appointment can be very helpful. Many times, the doctor may ask if the child could use something to help them feel more comfortable in all the unfamiliar surroundings.

Having a favorite item from home can give children a sense of security and comfort while they are getting used to new surroundings. It’s important that they feel safe so as not to become scared of going to the dentist again in the future.

If possible, have your children interact with their toys in whatever way makes them most comfortable while waiting or interacting with medical personnel—whether it’s cuddling with a stuffed animal or playing quietly with a small toy car set.

Offer Rewards

Another way to encourage positive behavior before and during a dentist visit is to offer rewards for good behavior. This can vary according to the age of the child and what motivates them. Creating a reward system that involves rewards for completing specific tasks prior to the visit may help make it easier for both parents and kids.

For example, rewarding a child with their favorite snack or toy if they brush their teeth every night before bed can emphasize the importance of oral hygiene while also providing an incentive to participate in taking care of their teeth. Rewards accumulated through behavior leading up to and during the dentist visit may also be used, such as granting access to a favorite movie in exchange for being brave at the appointment.

Bring Them to Your Appointments

Bringing your kids to your own dental appointments can be beneficial in several ways. Going with their parent helps children feel more secure and allows them to see firsthand that a visit to the dentist and hygienist can be an enjoyable experience. It also helps them become more comfortable with the environment of a dental office.

In addition, you may introduce your child to your dentist so they will have an initial contact before their first visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age should my child first visit the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist within six months after the first tooth erupts, or no later than their first birthday.

What can I do to prepare my child for their first dental visit?

You can prepare your child for their first dental visit by talking about it in a positive way. You can also read books or watch videos about dental visits together. Lastly, it may be helpful to visit the dentist’s office with your child in advance to get familiar with the environment.

How can I make my child feel more comfortable at the dentists?

You can make your child feel more comfortable by bringing a favorite stuffed animal or blanket with them to the appointment. You can also stay with them during the appointment if allowed. Additionally, you can ask the dentist if they have any special techniques or toys to help make the visit more enjoyable for your child.


It’s important to finish on a positive note and let your child understand how special it is that they’re visiting the dentist. Try to find ways to reward them for a job well done, such as a toy or a trip to the park. Make sure to thank them for their courage and express how proud of them you are.

Don’t forget to remind your kids that visiting the dentist does not have to be scary – it’s actually an important part of keeping their teeth healthy. So talk with them about good brushing habits and encourage regular check-ups with the dentist too!

It’s also essential for parents or guardians to establish good communication with their child’s dentist from the start – this will help ensure excellent dental care in a comfortable environment!

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