How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before scheduling your child's first dental exam, consider whether you'd be most comfortable visiting your family dentist or taking your child to a pediatric dentist — a dentist who provides specialized dental and oral care to children, from infants to teens. Pediatric dentists typically have child-friendly offices and equipment specially designed for children.

To help prepare your child for a dental exam:

  • Carefully time your child's visit. Schedule dental exams for your child at a time of day when he or she is well rested and most likely to be cooperative.
  • Be positive. When talking to your child about his or her dental exam, avoid using words such as "pain" or "hurt." Instead, tell your child that the dentist will use special tools to make sure your child's teeth are healthy. Remind your child that you visit the dentist, too — but don't talk about any negative dental experiences you might have had.
  • Listen to your child. Encourage your child to share any fears he or she might have about visiting the dentist or having a dental exam.
Feb. 18, 2012