Going to the Dentist – 6 to 36 Months
Supplies and Preparation
- Local Dental Resource List (see www.cavityfreekids.org)
For Extending the Learning:
- “The Dentist Is My Pal song lyrics
- Paper towel, yarn, stickers, watercolor markers, crayons
- Dental Visits are Important
Starting the Conversation
- It’s important to have regular dental checkups because changes in your child’s mouth can happen quickly. If tooth decay is caught early, it can be reversed.
- Have you taken your child to the dentist? If so, tell me about your child’s dental checkup.
- What went well? What surprised you? What did the dentist or medical provider tell you about your child’s teeth?
- Do you have a dental checkup (either a first visit or your child’s next visit) scheduled? If so, when is it? If not, let’s spend a few minutes today scheduling your child’s visit.
Parent and Child Activities
1. Sing “Going to the Dentist” with the parent and child.
Hold hands and walk in a circle doing the motions and singing to the tune “Ring Around the Rosie.”
Going to the dentist, going to the dentist
My turn! My turn! Let’s sit down!
Getting all my teeth cleaned, getting all my teeth cleaned!
My turn! My Turn! Open big!
2. If the parent has not scheduled a dental checkup for her child or has questions, discuss what happens at a dental checkup.
- The first visit will usually be done using a knee-to-knee exam.
- When the child is in this position, the dentist or medical provider can get a good look inside his mouth. The provider can check teeth for early signs of tooth decay (white or brown spots).
- The provider can also look for brown or black spots on the teeth, which may be cavities. If the provider sees them, he or she will talk with you about next steps for treating them.
- He or she may also talk about teething, healthy eating and drinking water, and show you how to brush your child’s teeth.
- This visit is a great time for you to ask any questions you might have about your baby’s teeth and oral development.
- The provider might apply fluoride varnish to the teeth. Fluoride varnish is like a special vitamin that keeps teeth strong and healthy and prevents cavities.
3. If the parent needs to make a dental appointment for the child, work with her to schedule it.
- If she already has a dentist or medical provider who provides checkups, suggest she call the provider and schedule an appointment.
- If she doesn’t have a provider, use the resource list to find a dentist for the baby or call the baby’s medical provider’s office and ask if they provide oral health checkups during well-child checks.
- Arrive at the appointment 15 minutes early to complete paperwork
- Find childcare for other children and bring your insurance cared, photo ID, and money for a co-payment if necessary.
- Bring some toys or books for the child to play with during wait times.
- Call at least 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel and reschedule the appointment.