As parents, the feeling of watching your child do something for the first time is wonderful. It’s a mix of pride, awe, and exhilaration. It’s a balance between being present in the moment and making sure you get it on video and into your baby books so you can share the excitement with family and review it repeatedly as the year’s pass.
Parenting is full of exciting firsts for you and your child. Their first bath, smile, giggle, food, tooth, steps, word. Each first is monumental. The feeling of pride is shared between parent and child, each embarking on a new journey.
But sometimes new experiences and places can cause anxiety for children, like their first dental appointment. Pediatric Dental Specialists recommends your child visit us by the time they get their first tooth, or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. Visiting the dentist early can help to make it a normal event and something that isn’t so scary as they get older and more aware. We partner with parents to make sure each appointment is a great experience for your child to make sure they feel comfortable and safe. We accommodate all special needs.
You can prepare your child for their dental visit by talking about it early. Talk to your child about what you will do and what the experience will be like. Demonstrate good oral hygiene habits so routine brushing is part of their daily life. When they see you doing something, they’ll follow along, as long as it seems fun, so don’t hold back on singing, dancing, acting silly—whatever needs to be done. Reading books about brushing teeth and going to the dentist is another excellent way to prepare your child.
Studies show that reading to kids helps them learn about the world around them and build social and emotional skills. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud to children every day, beginning at birth, to promote stronger parent-child relationships and improve language and literacy skills. Reading stimulates the part of the brain that’s associated with imagery, comprehension, and word meaning. So basically, reading aloud to your kids can promote bonding, encourage speaking skills, ability to remember things, and foster confidence in your kids. There are so many great children’s books available that teach valuable lessons to the growing mind. If you want to help your child learn about something in particular like potty training, weaning off the pacifier, or going to the dentist, you should read books to them about the topic.
Pediatric Dental Specialists agrees with the AAP’s recommendations about reading, and we think reading books about going to the dentist is a wonderful idea (wink wink)! Reading to your child about going to the dentist and taking care of teeth will help them prepare for their visit, reduce any anxiety they may have about an unfamiliar situation, and boost confidence. We know each child has different needs, and some may still feel more anxious at the time of the visit. That’s why our team is specially trained to help your child, and you, feel comfortable. Our highly skilled team will find the best way to help your child through their dental treatment. Some procedures may recommend nitrous oxide or other sedation to help them relax, and we will let you know if your presence is needed during treatment. We work with each child and family on an individual basis, based on the child’s needs, and we will discuss this with you prior to the treatment.
We do recommend talking to your child about their dental visit in a fun and exciting manner prior to the date. You could talk to them about the fun games in the reception area and show them pictures online so they become familiar with the setting. In addition, reading books to your child about going to the dentist and brushing teeth will be very helpful.
Here are some of our favorite books that we recommend to parents, and kids love them, too!
- Brush, Brush, Brush! The title of this book sums up the contents, and we think this book is excellent for teaching babies and toddlers about brushing their teeth. Since we recommend your child’s first dental visit be by their first birthday and they begin regular brushing then, this is one of the most perfect books to reinforce that behavior.
- The Tooth Book. This Dr. Seuss classic teaches kids all about teeth and why it’s important to take care of them.
- Brush Your Teeth, Please. A fun pop-up book with entertaining animal characters demonstrating good brushing and flossing habits. This will surely be a family favorite!
- Ready, set, brush! Your child’s favorite Sesame Street characters take them on a pop-up adventure all about brushing teeth and visiting the dentist!
- Sugar Bug Doug: All about cavities, plaque, and teeth. As your toddler enters the official ‘kid’ phase, this book teaches them how to stop sugar bugs from causing cavities by maintaining good oral hygiene. It’s great for ages 4-7, which is in the age range when kids can begin to brush on their own.
- The Tooth Book: A guide to healthy teeth and gums. This is a great choice for your elementary age child who is ready to learn all these things! It’s filled with illustrations of the dentist office and fun facts about dentistry and teeth.
- Going To The Dentist. This is the ultimate dental visit prep book filled with easy to understand explanations and bright illustrations.
- Pony Brushes His Teeth. In this book, Pony learns to brush his teeth by watching his dad model the behavior. A great read for kids and parents alike to reinforce what you’re teaching your kids at home.
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist. A classic book shows the whole family going to the dentist and is a great introduction to the Tooth Fairy. Perfect for all ages and particularly the older kids who might be getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy very soon!
- Brush Your Teeth, Max and Millie. A cute book with tooth brushing tutorials and discussion about why brushing is so important. A winner in our books!
If you have any questions about your child’s first dental visit, contact us and we’ll happily talk you through it.