Get Ready to See a Dentist

by Melanie

Yesterday, in Brushing Toddler Teeth, I wrote about things Cathy could do to help get her 4 year old to brush his teeth and also help get her 1 year old off to a good start. I gave her a couple suggestions to make brushing teeth not only a habit but a positive experience. To review, Cathy has three children, ages 1, 4 and 9. Only the 9 year old has seen a dentist, the 4 year old fights brushing teeth and the one year has several teeth.

Cathy had a second excellent question; she asked about getting her 4 year old ready for his first trip to the dentist. This is a great question because you want visiting the dentist to be as easy as possible, you need to know what to do before going to the dentist.

The first thing you should do in getting your child ready for a dentist is find a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is a dentist that has received additional training after dental school to specialize in children. A pediatric dentist will not only have more experience in working with children, their offices are more child-friendly. This combined will mean a less traumatic visit to the dentist. Working with toddlers requires a special touch, especially when it comes to their teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday. A pediatric dentist will most likely be able to examine you child’s teeth more easily than a dentist that usually sees adult patients. The early exams are often quick. At these appointments the dentist will teach you how to care for your child’s baby teeth. Your child’s dentist will show you and your child how to brush and floss.

Once you have a pediatric dentist selected, you help prepare your child for their first visit to a dentist by doing several things. First and foremost is to not let any anxiety you feel about seeing a dentist show. It is my opinion that dentistry has improved drastically since I was a child so try to let go of any unpleasant memories you may have.

Tell your child that a dentist will check their teeth and will teach both of you how to care for them. Do a little role playing. Take turns being dentist and patient and practice opening wide and looking at teeth.

If it is your child’s first trip to the dentist or they are just nervous, be sure to let the dentist know. If they are aware of the situation or emotions they can adjust their approach if necessary. Some children also benefit from a quick tour of a dentist’s office or a first visit that doesn’t involve an exam but is a quick meet and greet the dentist where they get a new toothbrush to use before they go in for an exam.

Keep going to the dentist a positive experience, don’t make it sound scary. Remember that prevention is the key when it comes to cavities. Brushing teeth and seeing the dentist for checkups is important and will help prevent expensive treatment.

If you have any concerns about your child’s first or subsequent visit to the dentist, don’t be afraid to talk to the receptionist or dental assistant for advice. The staff at a pediatric dental office will be more than happy to help you prepare your child for a visit; it makes the actual dental appointment much easier on everyone. Getting your child ready for the dentist is just as important as going to the dentist.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: