Ideally, all children should see a dentist by the time they're six months old or when the first tooth emerges--whichever comes first. However, at six months old, most children don't understand what's going on during the first dentist visit. Furthermore, since there's only one tooth present (or possibly no teeth at all, yet), a child doesn't truly get to experience a real dental exam and cleaning until they're a few years old. When that time rolls around, you'll want to make sure your child is well prepared; here are some things you can do.
Bring Your Child By the Office
One of the best things you can do to prepare your child for his or her first real dental cleaning is to simply bring him or her by the dentist's office ahead of time for a "meet and greet." Simply contact your dentist's office ahead of time to give them a heads up that you'll be stopping by (unless you visit a family dentistry office, in which case your visit won't be a surprise by any means).
From there, your child can meet the front desk staff, dental hygienist, dentist, and dental assistants. He or she may also get to see some of the tools that will be used during your child's dental cleaning. Overall, a quick visit can be a great way to prepare your child for the experience and to get him or her to relax a bit beforehand. If you have a scheduled dental exam coming up, you may even consider bringing your child in to watch.
Read a Book or Watch a Cartoon
These days, there are all kinds of children's books on the market that are specifically written to help prepare young children for their first dental exam and cleaning. These books (and even some cartoon episodes) strive to instill the importance of dental hygiene while also giving your child a better idea as to what to expect. Consider heading to the local library with your child and searching for some children's books about going to the dentist. Then, take the time to read the book (or books) in the weeks and days before your child's appointment.
After reading the book, be sure that you're open to answer any questions your child may have about his or her upcoming dentist visit at a place like Associated Family Dentistry LTD. From there, you'll be able to best prepare him or her for a lifetime of excellent dental hygiene.