5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

Is it time for your child’s first dental visit? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child have their first check up when their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday.  As a Mom of three, this was a little bit surprising to me, because I didn’t bring any of my children until they were around 2.5.  Well, I’m starting to get LM ready for his first cleaning.  There are a variety of things that we can do to help prepare your child for the dentist.
prepare your child for the dentist
1.  Let your child observe while you or an older sibling gets their teeth cleaned.  Little man liked watching for a short time today as his sisters had their teeth cleaned.
2.  Role Play– let your little one pretend that they are the dentist.  Using a puppet or toy, let them take care of the patient.  We used an alligator puppet with teeth to play pretend!
prepare your child for the dentist
3.  Read a variety of books focusing on a dental theme.  Here are a few books that include some of our favorite characters.
prepare your child for the dentist
prepare your child for the dentist
prepare your child for the dentist
4. Explore Online Resources
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me from Sesame Street

This website has videos, songs, printables and more!  It was designed to help parents and their children care for their teeth together.
At this website, you can find apps at an affordable price as well as online books focusing on the character Luca Lashes and his first trip to the dentist.
prepare your child for the dentist
5.  Play games with a tooth/dentist theme.  I made a couple of Tt is for tooth activities for LM when he was learning the letter Tt. (felt board, play-doh cavities, and matching)
 Making the dentist trip positive and fun can help our children ease into this one of many firsts that they will experience.
Written by Jen
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  • Reply Jackie H.

    Wow! I had no idea on those recommendations. My pediatrician told me 3 years old and our dentist said not to bring my son until he was 4!! He actually went to watch but he hasn’t even had a cleaning yet! I feel behind. We have a new pediatrician who is much more current. I’ll have to ask him. I love your ideas, though, especially for taking the very little ones. Books and role play can speak to kids so much more clearly than our “adult” words!

    August 3, 2012 at 11:47 am
  • Reply Anonymous

    Practice playing dentist at home – brush teeth (dry toothbrush) with your child laying down – often its that new position that is frightening to them too.

    August 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    • Reply Jen

      good suggestion..thank you.


      August 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm
  • Reply Jen

    Jackie..I feel the same way. Maybe the young appointment would be just for the dentist to examine the teeth, because I don’t think that they clean their teeth that young. I’m waiting a little bit longer for my son- closer to 3. I do recommend a pediatric dentist and not just a family dentist. This is just based on my own personal experiences. Thanks for commenting!


    August 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm
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