Preparing Your Child for their First Dental Visit

A child’s first visit to the dentist is a special one, and we love to make it just that! We are often asked about the appropriate age for a child’s first dental visit. We usually say anytime is fine, if you have a dental concern. For a routine checkup, between the ages of 2.5 and 3 work well!

The first dental visit consists of getting the child’s medical history, bringing them back to the exam room and familiarizing them with the dentist! A ride in the chair (even if on mom or dad’s lap) and showing our fun tools (the tooth tickler and mirror) help to ease them into the process. We have several flavors of toothpaste to choose from and at the end, we show them to the prize drawer. We really emphasize a fun and simple visit!

Preparing for the First Dental Visit

first dental visit

When talking to your child about visiting the dentist, don’t use words like shots or hurt. Children tend to associate the dentist with their trips to the doctor for the flu shot or blood draws. We don’t want to put those thoughts in their mind before they walk through the door. Talk about how fun and easy the dentist is.

There are a few books in our waiting room about visiting the dentist that are fun to read while waiting. Daniel Tiger also has a fun first trip to the dentist episode! The first trip usually goes better than expected!

What if My Child Has a Cavity?

When cavities are detected during routine visits, we use terms like “sugar bugs.” This helps your child understand how a cavity works (eats holes in the tooth). When prepping your child for a filling, try not to use words or phrases like drills, needles, or “there is nothing to be scared of.” We often find that parents tend to over speak about what a filling entails. This can result in your child anticipating a painful and scary visit, and end in an unsuccessful trip.

Your child may benefit from the use of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. This helps them to relax and feel “floaty.” The dentist uses words like “sleepy water” for the anesthetic. With television and headphones, children are often focused on what they are watching, and usually don’t pay attention to the anesthetic they receive!

The dentist will use terms like “sugar bug chaser” and “Mr. Thirsty” when referring to the tools used to complete the treatment. This helps them to feel at ease while still understanding what is happening.

Starting them young gets them in a great habit of forming positive experiences at the dentist! Our Rochester family dentists look forward to seeing you soon!

Request an Appointment

Family Dentist Tree is a family-oriented dental office located in Rochester, MN. Whether you need a cleaning, filling, crown, root canal, treatment for gum disease, or teeth whitening, we are here to help you with all your dental needs. We serve all ages, and our offerings include family dental care and senior plans. Request an appointment online or call us at 507-288-1188.