Helping your child view going to the dentist as a positive experience is essential to maintaining their healthy teeth and smile.   Children should visit their dentist around their first birthday or when their first tooth becomes visible.  There are several things you can do to prepare them and help eliminate fears about going to the dentist.  Using some of the following suggestions and trusting your dental staff will help make the two dental visits each year not only something they will expect, but also a positive experience.

Role Modeling:

Refer to dentists as community helpers.  Guide them to understand the dentist cares about them and wants to help them have clean, strong, healthy teeth.  If you have a fear of the dentist, avoid sharing those feelings.  It is very likely your anxiety will be recognized by your child.  Always keep a positive attitude about a dental visit.

Role Playing:

Before your child’s visit to the dentist have them count the teeth of a doll or animal.  Let them brush and examine the doll or animal’s teeth.  It is helpful to have them look at their own teeth in a mirror.  Schedule a “practice visit” to your dental office.  This will allow them to get acquainted with the office, children’s play room and staff.  

Helpful Books:

There are several  great books  to introduce positive association with the dentist. These are just a few:

Little Critters Just Going To The Dentist, by Mercer Mayer, Dora Goes To The Dentist, by Random House and Robert Roper, ABC Dentist, by Harriet Ziefert, What To Expect When You Go To The Dentist, by Heidi Murkoff, Off We Go To The Dentist, by Avril Webster, Peppa Pig Dentist Trip, by Scholastic

At The Dental Visit:

Let your child bring a favorite something that makes them feel safe.  Remind your child the dentist is going to help keep a beautiful smile.  Stay positive, calm and let the trained dental staff provide guidance.