Patient Guidelines During COVID-19

How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

Building good life-long habits is much easier if you begin during childhood. As a parent or guardian, you likely have an interest in helping your child build a solid foundation of dental hygiene habits.  

At CaliDental, our highly trained experts want to help you and your child navigate those first all-important years of pediatric dental care. We understand that having dental anxiety yourself can make it difficult to model the good attitude your child needs to see, but you can help them by addressing any anxiety they feel openly and honestly, and by making it a fun experience. 

Live by example

If you do have dental anxiety, or you don’t have good at-home hygiene habits, your child has likely noticed. Find ways to make taking good care of your teeth fun. Maybe do something like go shopping for matching toothbrushes or take turns choosing a song to listen to and dance to while you brush each night.

Another good way to model good dental care behavior is to bring your child with you to your dental appointments. They will feel more comfortable with the office, the staff, the chair, and all of the activities that go along with a routine visit. 

Make the benefits of dental care obvious

We don’t recommend that you give lectures about the reasons it’s important to go to the dentist, but it’s important to make sure that your child realizes a bright, happy smile is the result of good dental hygiene. Making casual comments about good dental care may help. For example, you might mention that dental care can: 

Helping your child recognize how dental care can make them healthy and happy can give them good reason to want to visit the dentist.

Talk about worries

It’s perfectly normal for a child to feel a little nervous about a new experience. Talk with them ahead of time about any fears or anxiety they may have. Help them know what to expect, and make sure your child understands they can ask to stop if they feel afraid. This is one of the most valuable ways to ease their fears. 

Plan some fun, too

There’s certainly no harm in celebrating after the dental visit. Before your child’s appointment, plan a special outing, such as going to a favorite park, or choosing a book at the library. We don’t recommend a bag of candy, but bridging a mental connection between dentist visits and fun activities can be helpful in the future.

If it’s time for your child’s first dental visit, schedule an appointment at one of our five convenient locations in San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Santa Maria, and two locations in Bakersfield, California. We’re happy to help you and your child build a foundation for a lifetime of excellent dental health. 

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