General Dentistry 01/05/2024

How to Prepare for Your Child's First Dental Visit

Your child’s first dental visit is certainly an exciting time. It marks a huge milestone in their life and development, as it means that they finally have teeth that need to be taken care of. Preparing your child for the visit and making it an exciting event can help to put them at ease and encourage them to feel confident when they visit the dentist.

Children are known to develop phobias and aversions to the dentist, and these can arise seemingly out of nowhere. When this happens, it can leave parents feeling like they have done something wrong or failed in some way.

The important thing to remember is that you’re doing a great job! Taking your child to the dentist is a really important part of their development, and with our help, we can hopefully invest lifelong healthy habits in your child so they continue this habit into adulthood.

Tears and tantrums are all a normal part of a child’s visit to the dentist, and we find that there are steps you can take to make this process feel less stressful for yourself and for your child.

When should children start to visit the dentist?

When should children start to visit the dentist?

The earlier the better! If you have questions about teething or you’re worried about anything related to their oral health, book an appointment with your dentist. It’s not just an opportunity for your dentist to check their teeth, it’s also an opportunity for the parent to ask questions and get support.

In general, children should have been to the dentist by the time they turn one, or when their first tooth emerges. The sooner you get your child accustomed to the unusual sounds and sights in the dental office, the better.

How can parents prepare for a trip to the dentist?

How can parents prepare for a trip to the dentist?

As soon as you’ve booked your dental appointment for your child, you can start to prepare. Make a list of questions you would like to ask your dentist and write them down. This will help you to remember everything, even if your child has a negative reaction to being at the dentist. Your calm and relaxed demeanour will help them to see there is nothing to be afraid of, so a simple list of questions will help you to avoid seeming flustered to your child.

Next, you can start introducing the idea of a trip to the dentist. Talk about the dentist in a positive light, avoiding any scary words or phrases. It’s common for parents to present the dentist as a scary figure they need to be well behaved for, but we would rather they see the dentist as a fun and friendly person.

You can read books about trips to the dentist to help introduce some of the ideas. You don’t need to introduce scary concepts like drills or needles as a very young child is unlikely to see any of these. Instead, focus on the big lights and little mirrors, as these are more approachable.

Coping with a meltdown

Coping with a meltdown

If your child does have a meltdown during your appointment, don’t worry about it. No one is worried about a bit of noise or some tears. Your dentist is highly trained to handle patients of all ages, and a little tantrum isn’t going to phase them.

If your child is struggling, try to remain calm as they will look to you for reassurance that everything is okay. Remind them they are safe and talk about something you can do after the appointment that will be fun and calming.

Handling your own fear of the dentist

Handling your own fear of the dentist

If you are anxious about trips to the dentist, we can help you to overcome this so that you don’t pass this phobia on to your child. Children are very receptive to their parents and their emotional reactions. They will pick up on signals that you are uncomfortable or afraid of the situation. By dealing with your own phobia of the dentist, you can support your child to develop positive oral health habits that last a lifetime.

Ready to book your appointment?

Get in touch with our team today to book an appointment for your child. We look forward to welcoming you to the practice.

Map of Benfleet Dental Centre

Visit the practice

Benfleet Dental Centre

8 Benfleet Road, Benfleet. SS7 1QB

Opening times

Monday08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday08:00 - 18:30
Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
Thursday08:00 - 17:00
Friday08:00 - 17:00
Saturday09:00 - 14:00*
*By appointment only