Your toddler should see the dentist for their first checkup as soon as their first tooth pops out, or by the age of two at the latest. But seeing the dentist can be scary for kids who haven't had the experience before, so it's a good idea to take steps that will help make their first dental checkup less stressful for the both of you:
Schedule a Preliminary Meeting
It's important for your toddler to get to know their new dentist before their first checkup so they feel comfortable and secure when their mouth starts getting poked and prodded. Schedule a preliminary meeting with the dentist a few days before your toddler's checkup so they can meet in person. The dentist can explain what your toddler can expect through a visual demonstration on a dummy, and your toddler can see the tools that will be used on them up close and personal. The idea is for your toddler to become familiar and comfortable with the dentist, surroundings, and tools that they'll be faced with when they show up for their official checkup.
Opt for a Dual Checkup
You can also put your toddler at ease by scheduling a dual checkup for yourself and your child at the same time. This way, you can both sit in the same room and take turns getting a checkup — you go first so your toddler can see how easy and painless the process is. When it's your toddler's turn, you can sit nearby and hold their hand to provide them with a little extra moral support. Consider bringing a book along to read to your toddler while their teeth are being checked and cleaned to keep their mind off the overall process and on more entertaining thoughts.
Make Appointment Day Fun
Another effective way to make your toddler's first dental checkup less stressful is to plan a fun day that makes the checkup seem like an insignificant event compared to the rest of the day's experiences. Start with breakfast in the park and a morning of playing, then head to a museum for a little educational fun and relaxation before the dental appointment. After the appointment, enjoy a movie together to top the day off. After such an exciting day, your toddler is sure to look forward to future dental checkup visits.
These tips and tricks should help make the process of taking your toddler to the dentist less stressful for your toddler and yourself overall.