First Trip to the Dentist: How to Prepare Your Child

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Taking Care of Your Teeth

Good dental hygiene is a must for everyone. Research has proven that the better our oral health is, the better our overall health will be. With regular brushing and flossing we can reduce the risk of not just gum disease but also improve our heart health. So how can we instill these important habits in young children and get them ready for their first trip to the dentist?

Wearing sunglasses not only protects the child's eyes from the light but makes the event a little cooler!
Wearing sunglasses not only protects the child's eyes from the light but makes the event a little cooler! | Source
Allowing the child to help by holding some of the tools makes her feel like she is important in the process.
Allowing the child to help by holding some of the tools makes her feel like she is important in the process. | Source
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Getting Ready for a Visit to the Dentist

Preparing for a trip to the dentist begins at birth. I know that as a new parent you have many more things to think about than taking your child to the dentist one day but these tips will help you to see how easy it really is to start young.

  1. First, it is important to brush your child's gums and then teeth from the very beginning. This will help your child to see the importance of this activity as well as get them comfortable with someone working on their teeth. Before your child has teeth you would just wipe down the gums with a damp cloth and not use a toothbrush. As your child's teeth begin to emerge, you will introduce and switch to the toothbrush.
  2. Second, talk with your dentist about what age is best for your child's first visit. I have heard the ages range from one (to get the child comfortable with the dentist but no real "work" is done) to three. Our dentist recommended age three. I brought my children to my check up that was closest to their first so that they could see what the dentist would be doing and that it didn't hurt me and it wasn't scary.
  3. Choose a dentist that you are comfortable with your child going to. Many people will opt to send their child to a Pediatric dentist. They obviously specialize in children's dental health the best. However be sure to get recommendations. We have a friend that opted to go to a Pediatric dentist and had a terrible experience while we decided to have our children visit our "regular" dentist and had a great experience.
  4. Read a story or two about what to expect when going to the dentist. I am a big advocate of using books whenever you can to help ease a child into a new situation. There are many great books out there that can help you out. Having some words of advice from a familiar character may be just what your child needs to ease her mind.
  5. Be honest about what to expect but do it in kid friendly terms. Talk with your child about things like what the instruments may sound like, that they will get to sit a chair that moves, that she will have her teeth counted, and that the dentist will be taking some pictures of your teeth. I feel that the more honest that you are, the more relaxed that they will be. Shy away from including your personal feelings or bad experiences at the dentist. Keep the dialogue positive and upbeat!

A well prepared child makes a happy child in the end.

No cavities Mom!
No cavities Mom! | Source

Preparing Your Child for the Dentist

What will you do to help make your child's first trip to the dentist easier?

  • Take a pre-exam visit to the dentist.
  • Read a story about a trip to the dentist.
  • Talk with your child about the dentist.
  • All of the above.
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Kid's Dentist Video

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Comments 25 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

OMG I loved the photos. were you 'in the way' MOM???? LOL

You remind me of me! Oh, oh...

Voted it all the way across the board. Great hub.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

No I wasn't in the way. What can I say like Mother like daughter. I'm not too many places without that camera of mine! And as you know Grace loves to take pictures too. Runs in the family I guess :)


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Fabulous Hub, and these are the CUTEST photos! Brings back a lot of childhood memories. I'm really glad you've written this Hub, too. Going to the dentist need not be traumatic- I had great experiences throughout childhood and I've been better about caring for my teeth because of it!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Simone, glad you enjoyed it. You are right that it doesn't need to be traumatic and it wasn't for my daughter and I don't expect it to be for my son either.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

Fortunately, my kids had positive first experiences at the dentist. I can't remember what I did it was so long ago, but like you, I am a proponent of using books to relate to the child's experience, so I most likely read them a book. Maybe even the Berenstein Bears -I'm sure they had a book for that!

Voted up and useful


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

They actually do have a book for that Aunt Danette! Thanks for the feedback.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Wonderful hub and great photos. Dentists are more kid friendly than they were when I was growing up.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks, they are for sure. Ours even has a tv for the kids to watch while they are being worked on.


WillSteinmetz profile image

WillSteinmetz 5 years ago

Wow great step.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Will. Glad you stopped by for the read!


brennawelker profile image

brennawelker 5 years ago

This is great, Article is very useful.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Brenna, glad you found it useful!


applecsmith profile image

applecsmith 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I was just talking to my BFF the other day about how we enjoyed going to the dentist when we were kids. Our parents were great at finding a children-friendly dentist and dentist office.

Our favorite part was being able to pick a free toy out of the "treasure chest" at the end of our visit. And if we were really good (no cavities) we would get stickers!

I credit a lot to my parents since I don't dread going to the dentist as an adult, since I had good experiences as a child.

Great post, thanks for sharing!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

I agree applecsmith that the experience as a child really sets us up for later in life. I also went to the dentist regularly and have no dental fears. My kids love to go to the dentist and pick out a prize after as well. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

This hub was a wonderful step by step guide to introducing a small child to good oral hygiene and to a dentist at a young age. And I love the happy ending!

As always, Grace makes an adorable model. So cute and cooperative, too. Voted up across the board, including funny cause the happy ending made me smile!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Gail for your comments. Yes, sometimes I feel like a hub pushing Mommy! LOL


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Hehe, It's so obvious that she loves being the little star of your hubs. I figure you have only another 2 or 3 years before she'll be asking you if she can make her own hubs, photos and all.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Love the hub - especially your photographs of your darling girl at the dentist! I think its great that us moms have the same, intuitive advice about tooth brushing and flossing and the importance of dental hygiene. Rated up across the board! Best, Steph


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Steph, she's always very willing to "model" for me! I'm going to link yours back here sometime this week.


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Excellent hub. I have 2 little kids and will taking my older to the dentist in the very near future for the first time and this is a great article for me to reference. Have pinned, voted and shared too.


dwachira profile image

dwachira 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

These are very important tips and especially tip #3, Choosing a dentist that you and the child is comfortable with will make the whole process more bearable especially to the kid. Voted up, useful and shared.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

So glad you enjoyed it Janine. I think one of the best things that we did was to take them with us ahead of time so that they could see that it doesn't hurt. Plus they loved getting to sit in the chair after we were done. Good luck to you!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

You are very right dwachira, the more comfortable the child is, the easier the visit will be. Thanks so much for your visit and share.

Janine~forgot to thank you for your shares, thanks!


visionandfocus profile image

visionandfocus 4 years ago from North York, Canada

Great hub! I'm linking it to mine on the same subject. You covered a lot of good points. Very well-organized hub and super-great photos!

Thanks so much for sharing!


kelsey 19 months ago

This is stuff that every parent should know so that they can prepare their child for the dentist. The first dental visit can be a little scary for a child so explaining the process is also important. Making sure the child is prepared and interested in the new experience is important. http://www.bristoldental.com/

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