Preparing Your Child For A First Dental Cleaning

While your child should first see a family dentist shortly after the first baby tooth erupts, your child's first dental cleaning likely won't happen until he or she is a toddler. Once this time comes, however, it is important to prepare your child for the appointment. After all, many children have anxiety over going to the dentist or may simply not know what to expect from their first dental cleaning.

Start With the Right Family Dentist

Begin by making sure you've got the right dentist to trust with your small child. Specifically, family and pediatric dentists have the specialized training and experience to work on tiny teeth. Not to mention, these dentists and their staff tend to have more child-friendly waiting rooms/offices and will know how to help your child relax and feel comfortable in the exam chair.

Bring Your Child With You to a Cleaning

One great way to show your child what to expect from a dental cleaning and to show them that cleanings aren't a big deal is to actually bring your child into the exam room with you the next time you have one done. Of course, check with your dentist first to make sure this is okay. Most dentists won't mind, and this can be a great way to quell some of your child's nerves about his or her own appointment.

Take Time to Talk About Expectations

Sometimes, just sitting down and talking with your child about an upcoming dental cleaning can help to calm nerves. Take time to welcome and answer any questions your child may have about the procedure, and answer honestly. If your child is scared or nervous, don't write off their feelings. Consider checking out a children's library book on dentist visits to learn and talk about them in a way that your child can relate to.

Discuss the Importance of Dental Health

Finally, make sure your child understands the importance of regular dental cleanings in relation to protecting their oral health. Great dental hygiene habits should include twice-annual cleanings and exams, as well as at-home habits of brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. By showing your child the importance of dental health, you can set him or her up for a lifetime of great oral hygiene habits.

Take these steps before your child's first dental cleaning and you can make the entire appointment less stressful for all involved.