Preparing for Your Child's First Dental Visit

Preparing for Your Child's First Dental Visit
Posted on 04/10/2024

Children should begin seeing a dentist very early in life. Once your child enters kindergarten, you have already missed out on several opportunities to manage your child's oral hygiene and health. At Huls Orthodontics, we examine the impact of early dental visits and preparing your child for that first visit. We also understand that early dental visits make it so much easier to transition to a family orthodontist in Champaign and Monticello if and when a child needs orthodontic treatment.

Age Two Is Ideal

Although you can take care of your child's first teeth at home with a toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste until around age two, after that, a dentist should be in the picture for dental care. Most pediatric dentists begin seeing little patients around age two because that is when a toddler has most of their baby teeth and is ready for the first exam. You can prepare your toddler by reading stories about dental visits and oral hygiene to him or her.

Talking About Teeth and Seeing the Dentist

Talking to your toddler about seeing a dentist ensures that he or she is adequately prepared for what comes next. Avoid any scary language like "drill", "toothache" or "pain". Instead, highlight the fact that a dentist is a special type of doctor who wants to look at teeth. Talk about how a dentist will count your little one's teeth and make sure the teeth are all healthy.

Play Dentist at Home

Kids love to pretend. Introduce new pretend play by pretending to be a dentist and asking your child to sit in a chair with his or her mouth open. Use a flashlight to look inside your child's mouth. Use a small toothbrush to tap on your child's teeth. End the pretend dental play with "Great teeth! Good work! Come again soon!"

If playtime permits, let your child be the dentist and look in your mouth. Kids think this is fun and it’s a good way for them to explore. It may open up another conversation about fillings if your fillings are not tooth-colored. Just let them know that that's how a dentist fixes a tooth when the tooth is broken and it doesn't hurt.

Get a Cheap Dental Guard to Mold to Your Child's Teeth

Having strange things in their mouths can be an uncomfortable experience. To acclimate your very young child to this, get a cheap dental guard you can mold to your child's teeth. Not only does this help your child feel more comfortable about weird stuff in his or her mouth, but it also prepares them for dental x-rays and the inevitable appointment for orthodontics.

Since kids will have to get x-rays and possibly molds of their teeth to build an orthodontic plan, this earlier experience of using a cheap dental guard helps. For more ideas on making this easier on your child, contact Huls Orthodontics, your leading family orthodontist in Champaign and Monticello.