7 Tips to Get Your Child Excited About the Dentist

Many parents dread the idea of taking their child to the dentist. But what if we told you that your child might even look forward to going in the future? If this sounds like something you want, then read on!

We’ve put together a list of valuable tips for getting your child excited about going to the pediatric dentist. But, before we get started, let’s answer a few important questions for anyone doing research.

How Do I Choose a Dentist for My Child?

Choosing a dentist for your child is vital because they will inspect their baby teeth and make sure they are strong.

  • Do a website search for “child dentist office near me” or “pediatric dentists near me” to find listings in your general location through places like Yelp, Google Maps, or All Dental Plans.
  • Find a dental office that accepts your dental insurance through your benefit plan services.
  • If dental insurance isn’t an option, find a practice that offers a solution for self-pay options for their patients.
  • Ask your friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations of child dentists in their area.
  • Once you’ve found the pediatric dentist that you are going to use for your children’s dental needs, schedule an appointment.

At What Age Should a Child Begin Seeing a Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist for a checkup on their health care needs between 6 months and one year old. Baby teeth start to appear around six months, with adult teeth coming in by 6 or 7.

Did you know that your child should have their first orthodontic exam no later than the age of seven? Preventative care and treatment are instrumental in building a lifetime of healthy smiles.

It’s essential to take your child to the dentist as soon as possible so that they can do any dental work before their oral health becomes too difficult or expensive to fix later on down the line. Baby teeth are essential because they act as the natural space maintainers for their future adult teeth.

Ideas for a Great First Visit at the Pediatric Dentist

Now that you’ve found a location to take your children, use these tips to keep a smile on their faces and avoid a panic!

1.) Bring Along Their Favorite Stuffed Animal or Toy

Bringing a toy from home may help your son or daughter feel more comfortable in the dentist’s office.

Bringing a beloved toy will give them something to do while they’re waiting for their appointment! Toys can also help make visits a little less stressful.

2.) Read Your Child a Book Before the Appointment

Many dentists have an activity area for children to play in while waiting for their turn at the dentist’s chair. You may be able to make your kids more comfortable with waiting by playing games and reading books together beforehand. A familiar game or book could make visits to the dentist a lot more pleasant.

If you’re looking for something to read, here are some of our favorite children’s books about dental care:

3.) Explain What Will Happen When You Get There

Going to the dentist can be fun for your child if they know what to expect. Talk about what they’ll get to do, like getting a sticker and playing with toys in the waiting room. If your child has had fun at other doctor’s appointments or is familiar with dentist visits from TV/movies, talk about that too!

The best way for you to ease their fear of going to the dentist is to take them on a tour of the dentist’s office. Then, when they see that it’s just like their doctor, in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable, you’ll be more likely to find your child excited about going to the dentist!

4.) Make an Appointment for Your Child at a Time When They Are Most Likely to Be Happy

No one knows your child better than you do. With that said, you know what times of day they are most likely to be in a good mood.

Maybe your child would love to go to the dentist earlier in the afternoon because they have a full belly from lunch, but they’re not tired from school yet. Maybe there’s something on TV that interests them at this time of day.

If you can’t seem to figure out when is the best time for your child to go, then make an appointment at the beginning of the day, especially if it’s going to be a long one.

5.) Ask Questions to Make Sure Your Children Understand What Will Happen

One of the best ways to prepare for a dental appointment is by asking questions. First, your child must understand what will happen and how the process works.

Here are some things you can ask them before their appointment:

  • What are your thoughts on going to the dentist?
  • What excites you about going to the dentist?
  • How do you feel about the dentist’s tools and equipment?
  • Do you know what we’ll be doing at our appointment today?

Of course, your child may not always respond well to these questions. That’s okay! Use this time to reassure them that their cooperation will make things easier.

6.) Be Supportive and Reassuring Throughout the Process – Don’t Let Anything Make You More Nervous Than Necessary

Patiently listen to whatever your child is telling you about their experience with the dentist, and reassure them that they’re doing a great job.

For example, ask them how it felt when they got an injection or had any trouble breathing through their nose while in the chair – every detail counts! And make sure to remind yourself to address these things with the pediatric dentist’s office before your next visit.

7.) Reward Them After Their Appointment by Giving Them a Toy or Another Treat on the Way Home

After your appointment, you can give them a toy or treat on the way home. If you do this, they will associate going to the dentist with something positive. Rewards are beneficial if your kids dread visiting the dentist!

Things to avoid

  • Arriving late or too early and making your child wait in the waiting room longer than scary.
  • Talking about the “terrible” shots they give you
  • Discussing your own negative experience with a dentist
  • Failing to prepare them for what they might see or feel when inside the dentist’s office, like drills or injections.
  • Showing that you are nervous or stressed out. Keep it together and show them a good example.

Going to the Dentist Can Be Fun for Your Child if They Know What to Expect

Help your children have a lifetime of good health and dental care by balancing their diet, practicing proper home care, and making sure to go to the dentist for regular checkups.

If you’re located in or around the Macomb County area, our Eastpointe location at Patient Empowered Dentistry might be a good fit for your family’s dental needs.

Give us a call to discuss your family’s different options (children, teens, and adults alike).

Patient Empowered Dentistry