5 Tips for Your Child’s First Dentist Visit


first-dentist-visit-feature{Thank you to the team at Portland’s Greenburg Pediatric Dentistry for sponsoring this post and providing the useful tips below!}

Nervous about taking your child to the dentist for the first time?  It’s completely normal!  As an aside, one of the most common questions we get from parents is, “when should I bring my child to you for their first visit?” so let’s just get that out of the way first thing.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child in when they get their first tooth, or around the time of their first birthday, whichever comes first.  In this case, the earlier the better, because we find that the earlier kiddos get used to coming to see us, the more compliant and happy they are for each subsequent appointment.  Once you’ve made your appointment, what next?  Make sure to read through our helpful suggestions on our website before you stop in, and here are five super helpful tips from Dr. Eddie of Greenburg Pediatric Dentistry that will make you and your child comfortable when coming to the dentist for your very first appointment. 

unnamed1 >> Stop by the office before your first visit

11541920_859736194103378_2432185553785133328_nWe welcome visitors at any time to our office!  When anticipating your child’s first checkup, feel free to stop by during office hours to familiarize him or her with our office environment. 

Our waiting room is filled with age-appropriate toys for young children, and vintage arcade games for older kids. 

Sometimes all it takes is watching other kids doing a great job during their respective appointments to convince your child that going to the dentist is easy.  Peer pressure, in this case, is a very good thing! 

Come in, meet our staff, and get comfortable. 

unnamed-22 >> Be positive about the dentist

It’s no secret our kids are looking directly to us for cues on how to react to situations every day. Even though you might feel nervous for your child, emphasize that going to the dentist is no big deal. Try not to worry about how they will react or behave (we’ve seen it all!), and let us take it from there once you arrive. 

It’s worth noting that some parents have had not-so-pleasant dental experiences in their past, or have fears or anxieties about the dentist. One of the reasons we emphasize an early, gentle, zero stress approach with children is to prevent them from having any fears about the dentist as they grow up. We recommend keeping any talk about their first appointment simple and positive. 

unnamed-33 >> Role play at home

11947431_889608224449508_6939342943201606382_nWe love the idea of having fun role-playing dentist before your first appointment!  It can be as simple as mom, dad or an older sibling playing dentist! 

Practice looking at your child’s teeth to make sure they are healthy and strong, and having your child practice brushing and flossing. 

We’re also big on fun books to read before your first dental visit.  Some of our favorites that are well worn at home and in the office are:  a very classic Just Going to the Dentist, Brush Brush Brush!, the fun pop-up Brush Your Teeth, Please!, and Dentist from the First Time series. 

Our own kids love the following toys, if you are so inclined to add to your collection!  We always love Doc McStuffins and credit her with helping familiarize and make kids comfy around medical professionals.  Any of her medical kits would be fun to “practice” with the tools pediatric dentists and pediatricians use.  For toddlers, this soft dentist kit is great for exploring! 

unnamed-44 >> Bring a toy, stuffed animal, or blanket for security

13882578_1083109518432710_3917354095812437033_nAt Greenburg Pediatric Dentistry, we have lots of stuffed animals and toys (even cozy blankets!) for your child to cuddle up with.  Sometimes it’s helpful to bring in your child’s favorite stuffed animal, lovey, or whatever their favorite toy is to comfort them.  Feel free to bring in anything that makes your child feel more confident here! 

Once at our office, your child may pick out their favorite age-appropriate show on Netflix with their own personal headset.

And last but not least…

unnamed-55 >> Avoid scary words like “shot”

Always avoid words and phrases like, “it won’t hurt,” drill, shot or needle.  Never use going to the dentist as a punishment or threat.  We recommend telling your child that Dr. Eddie and our staff are going to count their teeth and make sure they’re healthy and strong, and let us take it from there!  We want your child to leave our office secure, confident and happy, so it’s very important to avoid any words that are associated with harm, fear, or pain. 

13962755_10153909738053775_703910617038929020_nDr. Eddie Lopez is a seasoned pediatric dentist who owns Greenburg Pediatric Dentistry. Most importantly, he is father of three active young kiddos, age 5 and under. He and our experienced staff completely understand what makes a child comfortable when visiting the dentist for the first time. We pride ourselves on our office environment being relaxed, fun and upbeat, and we love nothing more than winning kids over to love coming to the dentist. Visit our website at www.greenburgpediatricdentistry.com to learn more or schedule an appointment, and be sure to stop by our Facebook page to see all the fun we have!