Believe it or not, your toddlers first dentist visit can be a breeze! In fact, they might just love it!
I was so nervous for my son’s first dentist visit. So, I tried to ease my anxiety the only way I know how. By preparing, preparing, preparing and preparing some more!
My strategy doesn’t always work but I have to tell you in this case it worked beautifully!
His first cleaning went way better than I ever anticipated! In fact he was smiling and laughing the whole time. Nothing like my first appointment!
I only remember the sound of drills and the smell of flesh burning. You can say, I had a bad experience.
So, I was determined to help my son have a better one and he did!
How to Prepare Your Child for their First Dentist Visit
Read Books to Prepare Your Child for their First Dentist Visit
Reading books is my favorite way to prepare for most anything. It gives your child a great visual of what will happen and opens up a dialogue for them to tell you what they may be nervous or anxious about.
We read one book a day (or the same one over and over again) leading up to the appointment.
Here or some great books to check out from your library or get from Amazon. (My affiliate links are included at no cost to you.)
In this book they go over questions like; will it hurt, will you stay with me, what will happen? Answering these questions helps make the whole experience less scary.
This books walk your child through their dentist visit in a fun way. Helping to lighten any anxiety they may be feeling.
I love the illustrations in this book. It will give your child a better understand of the tools the dentist will be using.
I always like to include a nonfiction so they can see how the tools will really look. Plus, I love that this book covers the “why” behind going to the dentist.
Talk About What Your Child Can Expect at their First Dentist Visit
Then talk about it and talk about it some more.
Tell your child what it will look like when you walk in. How you will need to sign them in and then you’ll both wait for a minute. Talk about the toys they have in the waiting room (hopefully they have toys)!
If not check out my Toddler Restaurant Kit that I pretty much take to all doctors appointments. His or mine.
Then tell them how the dental hygienist will call their name when it is their turn.
Basically walk them through every possibility that could happen.
One to think about is x-rays. For some reason this slipped my mind but thankfully the woman working with my son was amazing and super patient!
Find the Perfect Pediatric Dentist
This was an absolute game changer for us! The people who are working with your child will ultimately make the biggest impression on them.
Kids are so smart and they pick up on everything!
I recommend a Pediatric Dentist simply because that’s what they specialize in. They know how to interact with kids and can anticipate what fears they may have.
Plus, they’re super patient and that will put you and your child at ease.
Play Pretend Dentist Before their First Dentist Visit
At home you can play dentist! You can do this in three different ways.
- While brushing their teeth at night- We started out our pretend play by pretending that I was the dentist. I would use his electric toothbrush and then I would have him lay down on the couch. Since he’ll be laying down in the chair in the office. And an electric toothbrush is a great way to get them used to the feel of the brush the dentist will be using. This is the one our dentist recommend.
- Using a pretend dentist set– This little dentist tool set is a great way to allow your child to see similar tools and get comfortable with them.
- Let your child be the dentist-They can use their dentist tools on toys or on you. If you’re feeling brave.
Watch Shows to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist
Lastly, we utilize television as a tool (most of the time). This is one time that it was a huge help.
The morning of the dentist we watched several little clips to do a revamp of what to expect.
Here are the best clips I found:
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
My favorite by far! This show does an awesome job on walking kids through all sorts of new experiences.
I feel like people either love or hate this show. Either way, this little clip is cute and a fun way to get your child pepped(pun intended) for the dentist.
This clip is a little longer but pretty thorough. And if you don’t watch the whole clip. The dentist scene ends at the 4:36 minute marker.
The narrator walk through all of Caillou’s feelings. Probably similar ones your child will be having.
Because of these simple steps my toddler’s first dentist appointment was a huge hit. He was so proud to tell everyone what the dentist said about his teeth.!
Comment below to let me know if you have any tips that worked for you!
Until next time,