Tip 4: Prep at home for the visit
Before your child’s first dentist appointment, give her an idea what to expect by talking about it in words that she understands – and that won’t terrify her. Telling her the dentist will “count” or “look at” her teeth is sure to go over better than hinting she has a mouthful of decay to be drilled out. Avoid adding “and it’s not going to hurt,” says Dr. Millenaar. “Pediatric dentists don’t like those statements because it proposes the possibility of something in the office hurting, and that only contributes to anxiety.” Play “dentist” with a compliant stuffed animal or doll, and read positive-sounding picture books about dental appointments.