How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Pediatric Dentist Appointment

Mom and Son

Parents are always on the lookout for ways to make new experiences a positive one for their kids! It is no secret that early intervention with pediatric dentistry is key to preventing tooth decay and setting kids up for a lifetime of positive oral care! The professionals at Halonen Dentistry have these tips to share with parents looking to help set their kids up for oral hygiene success!

At what age should I schedule my child’s first visit?

The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist when their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. After the first visit, your child will generally be encouraged to follow the recommended schedule of six months in between visits, just like adults. As mentioned, these visits early on have been shown to have a positive effect on preventing tooth decay by allowing a dentist to evaluate the child’s oral health as well as help to answer parents’ questions regarding age-appropriate dental care at home. Starting periodic visits in the first year of life will also help your child become more at home in the dentist’s chair, leading to successful visits and a positive experience for you and your child.

How do I find a dentist that works with children?

One of the most important decisions a parent makes is picking the team of professionals they trust to help care for their children. When it comes to finding a dentist, Points of Light is an organization whose mission is, “to improve all infants’ and children’s oral health by connecting them with a Dental Home.” They are a resource for families looking to find dentists that have extensive experience and training working with children. Dr. Todd Halonen is a member of this organization and treats nearly all the children at Halonen Family Dentistry.

What can I do to help my child have a successful first?

There are a few key things a parent can do to help their child be set up for a successful first visit. The first thing is to try and schedule the appointment in the morning while your child is alert and fresh. Attempt to avoid nap times or right before a meal where they may be tired or hungry. Prior to the visit, you can also work on setting the expectation for what will happen. Using tools like books, songs, roleplay, or age-appropriate shows about going to the dentist can help get your child excited and familiar with a trip to check their teeth. You can also help prepare your child from infancy by getting them accustomed to their mouth and gums being touched with a clean, damp cloth before their teeth come in.

What can I expect during my child’s first visit?

During the visit itself, you will be able to take a moment to speak to the dentist about any concerns you may have before getting started. Your dentist will be able to answer any questions you have as well as explain how the examination will proceed. The initial appointment will be largely focused on helping your child to feel comfortable in this new environment and to work with you on coming up with healthy routines at home. The specific procedures that will take place in the first visit will depend on your child’s age, the presence of teeth, and other factors. The friendly professionals at Halonen Family Dentistry are available for you to call with any questions or to schedule an appointment!