How to Prepare your Child for a Dental Visit

Make your child’s dental visit a breeze

Many people struggle with anxiety around going to the dentist, including children. This is a completely new experience for them, potentially making it scary or uncomfortable. Luckily, there are simple steps that you can take to make your child’s  dental visit a comfortable experience. 

What will your visit look like?

Experts recommend taking your child for their first dental exam within 6 months of the first tooth coming in, or by about 12 months at the latest. These early appointments help to make sure your child’s smile is healthy and their oral development is on track. Another benefit is that going to the dentist young lets your child get comfortable and develop a rapport with the practice, making future visits more comfortable. Building a relationship with your dentist is key!


As a parent, there are a few key questions to ask your child’s dentist to correctly monitor their dental health. At the age of their first visit, they are just developing a relationship to feeding and putting things in their mouth.  Be sure to discuss infant feeding best practices around this at your first visit, as bottle feeding, teething, pacifier habits, and finger sucking can affect their mouth’s health. Also at the first visit, give the dentist your child’s complete health history.


It’s important to not only prepare your child physically and emotionally but to also prepare yourself by doing proper research before their first trip to the dentist. Here are some simple steps you can take to prepare your child:


1. Check in with your own dental anxiety

Remember that your feeling toward dental visits can be quite different from your child’s. Be honest with your view of the dentist. If you have dental anxieties, be careful not to relate those fears or dislikes to your child. Your job that day is to provide moral support to your child

2. Choose the best dental practice

Get a good feel for the practice before deciding. Looking for a dentist for yourself is different than for your child, it’s best to hire a dentist with specialty training in child development and psychology, as well as the ins and outs of treating growing smiles. Do your research and possibly tour the office before enrolling.

3. Timing is important

Break the news to your child the same day as the appointment, so there’s less time for them to build up anxiety about the visit.

4. Prepare while having fun

Prepare them before by reading books about the dentist. Dentist games for kids can also be a really effective way to demystify the experience and get them ready for their first dental visit. Not sure where to start? Simply play dentist!

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