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How Can I Help Prepare My Child for Their First Dental Exam?

How Can I Help Prepare My Child for Their First Dental Exam?

The American Dental Association recommends that parents bring their children to the dentist when their first tooth appears or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.

That might feel early, but starting young helps kids get used to going to the dentist. Plus, since cavities affect half of kids between ages 6 and 8, early dental care means deploying the preventive measures that can help protect oral health. 

We understand this can be a nerve-wracking appointment for you and your child. That’s why Irene Zaki, DDS, and our team tailor our care in specific ways during new patient exams at Happy Teeth Children’s Dentistry. When you come to our office in Riverside, California, for your child’s first dental exam, our priority is keeping your family comfortable.

To some extent, that comfort hinges on how they’re feeling when they come into our office. You can take some steps to help them prepare. Here are a few tips from our team. 

#1: Use books and shows to build their familiarity

The dentist’s office often feels scary because it’s an entirely new environment. The bright lights and the unfamiliar tools might make them nervous. But if they already know what to expect, it eases some fear.

You can use picture books, TV shows, and other media to introduce them to the dental environment well before they enter our office. 

A little internet research might reveal that their favorite character already has a dentist-focused adventure. Alternatively, Sesame Street has an episode in which Elmo visits the dentist, which is available on YouTube. You can also explore picture books designed to help them get ready for their first visit. 

#2: Use scheduling to your adventure

When is your child at their best? If they tend to start the day in high spirits, we can book their appointment in the morning. If they’re at their calmest in the afternoon after their midday nap, we can schedule their visit accordingly. 

Talk with our team, and we can book their appointment at the time that works best for them. 

#3: Come with questions

While your child probably isn’t talking much by the time they have their first dental exam, you may have noticed things as you keep their mouth clean. That first appointment is a prime opportunity to discuss your questions with an expert. If their mouth seems ticklish, for example, bring that up with Dr. Zaki so she can show you how to best maintain your child’s oral hygiene without irritating them. 

Ultimately, we strive to make your child’s first visit to our office as comfortable and convenient as possible. If you have any questions in the leadup to your appointment, feel free to contact us. To talk with our team and to schedule your child’s first appointment, call us at Happy Teeth Children’s Dentistry or book your visit online today.

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