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How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Appointment

How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Appointment

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first dental appointment holland mi dentist

Your child should see a dentist within 6 months of getting their first baby tooth or by their first birthday. That being said, there are steps you can take to help your child make a smooth transition.

How you handle this first visit may determine how your child feels about going to the dentist for the rest of their life. That’s why it’s important that you help your child form a good first impression.

Here’s how to set your child up for success.

Practice Counting Teeth

Dr. Habecker will keep your child’s first dental appointment very simple. That way, he’ll be able to build a relationship with your child based on trust.

During the first visit, Dr. Habecker may ask to “count” your child’s teeth. That way, he’ll be able to perform a basic oral examination while using language your child understands.

To prepare your child for their appointment, tell your child how the dentist will need to count their teeth. You may also encourage them to count either your teeth or their own teeth so they know what to expect.

Avoid Frightening Language

Your child’s first visit with us will be very simple. That’s why there’s no reason to use scary words like “shot” or “pain.” Instead, try to frame your child’s first dental appointment in a positive light.

We recommend that you act excited about your child’s first dental visit and say that it’s a sign that they’re growing up. Your child will pick up on your enthusiasm and feel more relaxed when they visit our office for the first time.

Read a Book About Going to the Dentist

Setting expectations is so important when you’re introducing your child to the idea of going to the dentist. When they know what to expect, they won’t feel as much anxiety. In fact, they may even look forward to going to the dentist!

Check out your local library or bookstore for relevant children’s books.

Set a Good Example

A lot of parents don’t realize that their children pick up on their attitudes about things. This includes going to the dentist. If you feel anxiety or dread about seeing the dentist, your child may pick up on that and feel the same.

When you talk about dental care, try to seem enthusiastic or calm. In other words, model how you want your child to feel about going to the dentist. We also recommend that you check out our blog post on how to overcome dental anxiety.

Take a Favorite Toy or Blanket

Does your child feel anxious about seeing the dentist for the first time? If so, it may be helpful for you to bring your child’s favorite toy or security blanket to their first appointment. This will help your child feel a sense of comfort and familiarity while in our office.

Request an Appointment With Us

Dr. Habecker is a family dentist in Holland, MI, who’s accepting new patients of all ages. To schedule your child’s first appointment with us, please call Macatawa Smiles at (616) 396-7524. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our office will reach out to you soon.


Dear Patient Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care and we appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to follow orders from the Governor's Office.

We are happy to say that we are opening our office for all patient treatment on June 1st, 2020. Our hours of operation will go back to normal, Monday-Thursday 8am - 5pm. We want you to know that there will be some changes at your next appointment. Please be patient with us as our protocols will inevitably change as new guidelines are released.

  • We ask that you use our parking lot as the waiting room.
  • Please wear a mask when you come into the office and leave it on until entering the treatment room. Homemade is acceptable.
  • Only the person receiving treatment should come in the building, all others will be asked to wait in the car if at all possible. The exception will be for our minor patients who may have one parent accompany them.
  • We will be asking you some questions when you arrive at the office and we will also be taking your temperature.
  • We will not be able to offer magazines, drinks, or toys at this time as they cannot be disinfected to our standards. Eventually this will change and we will be happy to offer our amenities once again.

These changes have been made to adhere to the latest CDC guidelines and for the benefit of our patients and our staff. We want you to know that our office has always taken the safety of our patients very seriously and that we will continue to follow the highest levels of sterilization and disinfection to keep you protected. If you would like more information on what measures we have taken we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We cannot say how excited we are to see all of our patients again and to provide for their dental needs. We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces soon!

Dr. Habecker and Team