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How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Appointment

A smiling boy in dentists chair having his teeth examined

Are you looking to take your child to the dentist for the first time? Given that a dentist visit can be traumatic for adults, it’s possible that your child may experience some fear and trepidation. But when you think about it, a child’s experience of visiting the dentist is something that they learn from you, their parent. So, if you have a positive experience to impart on your child, then it is likely that they will be more comfortable and relaxed going into their appointment.

We have got some tips here for parents looking to ready their child for their first dental appointment in the hopes that it helps to make things run smoothly. Don’t forget, at Redlands Dental we are experienced in working with children and making sure that every dental appointment runs smoothly.

Call us to make your child’s appointment on (07) 3245 5511 for Capalaba or (07) 3820 7777 for Victoria Point.

Model the behaviour you want your child to show

When talking about the dentist, your children are going to be absorbing all the information they know from you. If they see you being scared or talking about the dentist with trepidation, then you can bet that they’ll inherit these vibes from you. It’s important to be a good role model of dental health to your child and to show them the behaviour that they should exhibit.

You can:

  • show them good brushing and flossing techniques and brush your teeth together
  • brush every morning and night and ensure that your child enjoys the tooth brushing exercise
  • explain how the dentist is just a check up and if they have been exercising good oral hygiene then their visit will be quick and simple
  • be conscious of your own feelings about the dentist and be sure to not pass on any fearfulness.

Role play a trip the dentist

It’s never too early to get started with talking to your child about the dentist and what to expect. Be sure to explain that a visit to the dentist is a check-up to keep teeth healthy and avoid talking to your child too much about scary dental procedures. After all, you want to get your child on board with a lifetime of good dental habits — and much of this comes from you and how you approach their dental care in their formative years. You can even go so far as to practice getting in the car, driving to the dentist and going into the waiting room to show your child that there is nothing to fear.

You can:

  • focus on the fun and exciting parts of going to the dentist; there’s the chair that moves and your child will get to wear funny sunglasses
  • explain how it will feel to get their teeth cleaned
  • talk about how great it is to have good strong healthy teeth and how important the dentist is.

Watch instructional videos on YouTube

There are plenty of videos and resources out there that explain a trip to the dentist. Find some online that resonate with you and your child and sit down together to watch them. When your child watches some other children going through the same experience it not only normalises things, but it gives them an idea of what to expect.

You can:

  • find some videos that explain the dental process online and watch them with your child
  • ensure that you are honest with your child and go through the process of what to expect.

Encourage and set up a routine of dental hygiene

When going through the teeth brushing process morning and night it’s helpful to always follow the same sequence. You want to floss teeth first, and then brush them and rinse well. Kids benefit from consistency, so get a nice routine ingrained and then ensure it’s the same every time. When your child has healthy teeth, it’s likely that their visit to the dentist will be pain and hassle free.

Bring something familiar from home

Your child may feel a little unsettled going to the dentist for the first time, but you can make things more comfortable and familiar by bringing along a blanket or a stuffed toy from home. Having this familiarity can assist your child in feeling safe.

You can:

  • ask your child which toy or blanket they want to bring as a comforter
  • plan a fun activity after the dentist that your child can look forward to
  • be positive about their first dental tip.

We hope this has been helpful! Please call Redlands Dental today to make your child’s appointment and we look forward to welcoming you soon.

Call us to make your child’s appointment on (07) 3245 5511 for Capalaba or (07) 3820 7777 for Victoria Point.

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