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How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Dental Appointment

Posted Jun 19 2013 10:34am
English: A little girl has her first visit to ...

A little girl has her first visit to the dentist. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visiting the dentist for the first time is a milestone in every child’s life. In order to make the event go as smoothly as possible, parents can take several steps to prepare the child and also instill good oral hygiene habits. These steps are outlined below.

Keep Baby’s Mouth Clean

A good approach to future oral care is by introducing the child to it in babyhood. Parents can clean a baby’s mouth by gently rubbing a damp washcloth over the gums and switching to an appropriate toothbrush and paste when the first teeth arrive. It is recommended by dentists like B. Brent Bladen, DDS , that a child see a dentist around age one.

Act Out a Dental Visit

A parent can act out the role of the dentist to help a child understand what to expect. Floss, toothbrushes , flashlights and a cup can be used to imitate the dental exam experience. The parent can play different roles in order to help the child feel comfortable.

Discuss Teeth

Talking to a child about what teeth are and the important role they play throughout life can help children understand the importance of oral care. Parents should allow the child into the bathroom to observe the brushing and flossing routine each day, emphasizing that each action is painless.

Confront Fears

Children should be allowed to ask questions or talk about anything that may frighten them about going to the dentist. Parents should mention words that may be used during the exam such as x-rays, cavities and gums, and explain what each term means. Allowing a child to bring along a favorite blanket or toy can add to a feeling of security. It should be noted that parents should always avoid telling children about negative dental experiences, as this can cause anxiety.

Have a Pre-Appointment Visit

A number of dental offices, including those that do dental cleanings in West Jordan , will cater to young patients by allowing a tour of the waiting and exam rooms before the first appointment. This can do much to ease the fears and uncertainties a child may have, as there will be a feeling of familiarity when appointment day arrives.

Parents should not wait too long to take children to the dentist, as most will have all baby teeth at age three, with cavities beginning as early as age four.

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