A child’s first visit to the dentist office is a new experience and can be uncomfortable for some children. By providing adequate advance notice and age-appropriate strategies the first trip to the dentist can be a positive experience.
We have helped children with sensory sensitivities and are happy to work with you ahead of time to learn about your child and brainstorm what strategies before, during and after the appointment can help the day be most successful.
Preparing Your Child for a Trip to the Dentist Office
- Normalize the Process: Everyone goes to the dentist; treating it as a normal activity with your child will help them build confidence. Have your child go with you and watch when you have your dentist appointments
- Impart Information: Be honest, calm, and reassuring when talking to your child about the dentist. Talk about what to expect, what the office will be like, and how your child’s teeth will feel afterwards. There are plenty of age-appropriate books out there about visits to a children’s dentist; consider reading one of these together.
- Build Excitement: Roleplay dentist visits with your child and speak about the visit in a positive way. Consider a fun outing after your dentist visit to create positive associations.
- Manage Your Emotions: Be aware that your own fears of the dentist may translate to your child. If you have your own fears, work to hide them or entrust another adult with the task of preparing your child for his or her visit.
What to Expect at a Children’s Dentist Office
Talk to your child early and often about what to expect at their dental appointment; they can expect the following:
- During the appointment, Dr. Kvinsland or Dr. Skifstad will introduce themselves and get to know your child as a person. Ask them about things they like to do, animals, sports, books and more – establishing a relationship with your child from day one. Of course, they will also check your child’s teeth and talk to them about the importance of teeth and keeping teeth strong.
- If the child is cooperative, the dental assistant will take x-rays of his or her teeth to give our dentists an idea of any treatments that might be needed.
- The dental assistant will show their tools to your child. We will let them clearly see, touch, and ask questions about each tool so nothing is a mystery.
- The dental assistant will clean your child’s teeth, just like they do an adult’s. The paste used to clean your child’s teeth will be a child’s flavor: typically bubble gum, strawberry, or another gentle flavor.
- The dental assistant will floss your child’s teeth.
- If the child is cooperative, he or she will get a fluoride treatment. Some children are not ready to sit still and not swallow on cue, which our professionals will take into account. If the fluoride treatment is successful, your child will not be able to drink or eat for 30 minutes after the appointment.
Contact Our Children’s Dentist Today
If you have more questions about how to prepare your child for his or her first visit, don’t hesitate to contact our office. Building positive associations with the dentist at an early age is shown to promote healthy oral habits, so it’s best to start as soon as possible. Reach out to our Gig Harbor, WA team today to learn more!