Kids First Dental Appointment: What To Expect
Little Yawn Collective - Nov 01, 2021
Oh, baby! You’ve gone through the teething process with your little buddy. You see that cute, toothy grin smiling at you every day. You’ve JUST brought your sweet baby home from the hospital and before you know it, it’s time for the dentist! (Time, please slow down!)
The first dentist visit is a rite of childhood. You have this chance to make the first visit an enjoyable, positive experience and give your child the best tool for a beautiful smile (not that it isn’t already!).
Even if you dread the dentist yourself, you can break the cycle with preparation and a positive outlook that will be infectious to your little buddy. Read on to prepare for your child’s first dental appointment.
When Do I Make the First Appointment?
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends making the first appointment between the time your baby’s first tooth arrives and their first birthday. You can check out this eruption chart from the ADA to get a good idea of when teeth will appear (and when they will lose them, cue in the Tooth Fairy!)
When looking for a dental office, here are several helpful tips to finding a friendly dentist for your child’s first of many appointments.
Friendly, Welcoming Space
Is the waiting room warm and welcoming? Look for bright colors, toys, and kid-sized furniture.
This space should be geared towards kids, and office staff should be welcoming and excited for your child’s first appointment. This will help your child feel more at ease, and let’s not forget about you feeling at ease as well!
Comfortable for Your Child & You
It may be a good idea to first meet your child’s potential dentist/or staff before the first appointment. Does the office offer consultations? Are they friendly to your child and make them feel comfortable?
A warm smile, and a little humor go a long way with a child. As a parent, do you feel comfortable asking questions?
The dentist can strike anxiety in many adults! Imagine how a child must feel. When a child is fearful, how does the dentist handle it? Do they know and use any calming remedies for your child? Are they prepared for any potential difficulties?
Positive, Fun Care
When the dentist is made to be a fun experience, your child will be less apprehensive about going. Ask how your child’s dentist positively reinforces a good experience for your child. Do they use rewards? Do they educate your child about their teeth in a kid-friendly way?
Preparing for the Big Day!
Now that you have made your child’s appointment, it is time to prepare for the big day. It can be an uncomfortable experience having someone poke around inside your mouth, so imagine your child’s feelings during their first experience!
Try not to let this first visit be a surprise, and prepare them for what will happen. Here are a few ways to help prepare for the big day.
Practice by having your child open their mouth, and look in their mouth, and touch their teeth. Although the dentist is prepared for a potential nibble, practicing will hopefully prevent your little one from trying to take a bite out of the dentist!
Also, allow your child to “play dentist” as you open your mouth for them, and will enable them to look inside your mouth and teeth for extra exposure.
If possible, schedule yourself a dentist appointment before your child’s appointment, and take them along to shadow as they watch your dentist clean your teeth and how you act during the experience.
Exposing your child to how you act at the dentist is a great example for them to follow. (Maybe avoid any drills or extra dental work on this particular appointment!)
Incorporate teeth-themed things into everyday life. You can make a snack for your child with apple slices, peanut butter, and marshmallows that resemble a smiling mouth. Practice brushing with a fun toothbrush your child has picked out. Point out animals that have big teeth!
What Will Happen on the First Visit?
Knowing what will happen on the first visit will help you be more prepared as well. It may help to ask what will actually occur when you make the appointment, but the first dental visit will be short and sweet as a general overview!
Depending on you and your child’s comfort level (as well as age), you may be in the actual examination room holding your child or asked to wait in the reception area. Building a relationship between your dentist and child can also be a positive reinforcer to successful visits in the future.
The dentist will check the already existing teeth for any issues and any jaw or gum issues. Make sure to ask questions about any oral hygiene issues you are curious about. At this point, your child’s dentist will probably recommend continued brushing and may discuss how pacifiers/thumb sucking can affect how teeth grow.
After this first visit, schedule the next dental check-up for six months. Proper monitoring of how your child’s teeth develop can help you be proactive for any issues that may arise. It also helps keep your child familiar with dental practices and comfortable going to the dentist.
The Big Day!
The appointment day is here! Make sure your child has had a good night’s sleep the night before. With an important day, you don’t want your little buddy to be sleepy and nervous! Not a great recipe for a successful day.
Be sure to follow your regular bedtime routine and ensure a restful, cozy night with Little Yawn Collective products. The Calming Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops can help calm and relieve occasional digestive upset.
As a plus, they are sugar-free and melatonin-free!
Before going to the dentist, it may help to make sure your child is extra calm. Since we know that we associate certain smells with feelings, rubbing your little one’s hands with lotion, like our Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter, can help your little one feel relaxed.
You can also spritz some Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray in the car before loading up and heading to the dentist’s office. Riding in the car with a familiar scent associated with a calm part of the day helps your child relax and associate the journey with positive feelings.
With a prepared and well-rested, relaxed child, the dentist visit will hopefully be successful! Making the day a typical day will help your child know that going to the dentist is a routine thing in life. After the dentist visit is over, reward your child with a small toy or a new toothbrush!
As your little buddy reaches one of their first of many milestones, remember that a good night’s sleep can help any day be successful. Little Yawn Collectives products are designed to encourage restful zzz’s, so big days are met with rested little ones!
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