The sooner your child visits the dentist, the more comfortable he or she will be in the dentist’s office. Anticipation of a dentist visit can strike fear in patients of all ages. When a child visits the dentist and has a good experience, that sets the tone for a lifetime of good dental health. Help your child prepare for that critical first trip to the dentist!

The first question may be when to take the child to the dentist for the first time. It’s actually sooner than most people may realize. A young child should see the dentist after the first tooth appears! That first visit should definitely happen before the child’s first birthday.

It might be helpful for a child who has never been to the dentist’s office for you to take him or her along with you on your routine visit. Let your dentist know that you plan to do this and ask the dentist to show the child some of the tools used in a checkup and cleaning. Be sure your child is well rested before your visit! He or she will not have a good impression of the dentist’s office if it’s in the way of a nap.

When the time comes for the child’s own checkup, the dentist will want to be sure the teeth (or tooth) and jaw are developing appropriately. The teeth (or tooth) will be checked for issues, such as cavities which can occur even at such a young age. Then the teeth (or tooth) will be cleaned.

For a very young child, the dentist will probably have him or her sit on your lap. That will also help your child feel a little more secure and less anxious. The dentist and hygienist will certainly understand if your child cries or is squirmy. Talk to them ahead of time so they are prepared too!

Work with your dentist to give your child the best possible experience during that first visit to the dentist. It will help alleviate the fear in everyone and set the stage for healthy teeth in your growing child.

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