First Dentist Visit? Books and Tips for Preparing a Toddler

Illustration by William Steig

Is your toddler ready for a dental exam?   Gearing up for that first dental check-up can be stressful. Help prepare your toddler (and yourself!) with these children’s books about teeth and tips for preparing children for their first dentist visit.

Tips for Preparing for the First Dentist Visit

  • Read books about teeth.  Talk about teeth!  What are they? Why do you have to take care of them?  Books help manage a child’s expectations for visiting the dentist and help them get comfortable with what will happen during an exam. “Remember how sister bear sat in the dentist’s chair?  Now you can have a turn too!”
  • Visit the dentist with a sibling or parent. Letting a toddler see how a parent or an older sibling gets their teeth cleaned is a great way for them to get comfortable going to the dental office BEFORE their own appointment. Sometimes the dentist will offer to let the young child “assist” and be a helper!
    first dentist visit with sibling
    Photo Julie K|CC
  • Make teeth fun.  Have a child look in a mirror at their own teeth.  Make some teeth out of play dough.  Talk about how animals and people have different types of teeth. 
  • Follow a daily dental routine.  A standard brushing (or tooth wiping) routine at home will help your child get used to having their teeth examined.
  • Make a list of questions for the dentist. Take a list of medications or allergies your child may have.  Ask your dentist about oral habits such as thumbsucking, pacifiers, sleeping with a bottle, sippy cups, or any other concerns you have about your toddler’s teeth.
  • Stay Calm.  If parents are nervous, children will be too. Keep it fun and light-hearted, not something to fear or stress about. Take a backpack with the books you can read together while you wait in the dentists office.  Staying calm will help your child cope too.
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Childrens Books About Dentists and Tooth Care for Toddlers

1. The Tooth Book

2. Brush, Brush, Brush

3. Brush Your Teeth, Please: A Pop-Up Book

Brush Your Teeth, Please: A Pop-up Book (2)

by Leslie Mcguire, Jean Pidgeon

4. The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist

by Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain

5. Dr. De Soto

Doctor De Soto

by William Steig

Clever kids will love how Dr. De Soto outwits the Fox.

Toys about Teeth and Dentistry

Touching an interacting with play teeth may sound silly, but imaginative play is a great way to help a child get comfortable about dental care.

Pretend your a dentist, fix a crocodile’s sore tooth, and discuss why oral health is important.  Play is learning!

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