Helping Our Sensory Child Through the First Dentist Visit


first dentist visit

It seems like yesterday when my first born went to the dentist for the first time. Now my baby girl is ready for her first dentist visit.

This morning, I was a little nervous about the experience. My 5 year old had his first dentist visit around 3 years old and it was torture! Kicking, crying and just didn’t have a good experience. Thankfully, as time went on he got over his fear of the dentist, now he is a pro!

Andrea is about to turn 3 years old, it was time to go – just like big brother.

As most of you know, Andrea is my sensory child. Her development is delayed with speech and communication and the idea of explaining the dentist to her was over whelming.

Here is what we did to help make her first trip to the dentist a good experience:

  • Read books before bed about the dentist, one of our favorites is the Bearenstain Bears go to the dentist. We did this nightly for about a week before our visit.
  • We asked for as little as possible during the procedure. Pushing a child with sensory needs can lead to a melt down, this is something that I didn’t want Andrea to associate the dentist with. Our visit consisted of counting her teeth and a quick/simple brushing done with a regular toothbrush.
  • Explored the dental office. I went into the exam room with Andrea, normally I would sit in the waiting room. We talked about everything, like the gloves on the dentist’s hands, let her touch the gloves, talked about the bib and the glasses for the bright lights. By taking things really slow and at her pace, this made for a much more pleasant experience. The glasses were her favorite :)
  • Weighted Vests – While Andrea was okay going in, there was an obvious level of nervousness and she was kind of all over the place with her movements. If I would have remembered, we definitely would have brought her weighted vest to help keep her calm. However – the assistant was fully prepared with the xray vest and said she could use it if really needed. 

We had a wonderful visit, while it wasn’t a full examination, it was a start for a positive experience at the dentist.

Please comment below! What age did your children begin to visit the dentist?


4 thoughts on “Helping Our Sensory Child Through the First Dentist Visit

  • June 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm
    My daughter had her first initial dental visit a little after she turned 2. They counted her teeth and looked in her mouth etc. The next visit will be an actual cleaning so I'm not sure how she's going to react to that. I had to bring her dad with us because she is much more cooperative for daddy than for me. Reply
    • June 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm
      Good luck with the next visit! Sometimes the little ones can really surprise us. I haven't even begun to think about the next visit. Reply
  • June 26, 2013 at 10:20 am
    I'm glad to hear she did well at her first dentist visit! We're about to make our first visit to the dentist with my daughter who is almost 3. I'm terrified. The last time we went to the doctor was meltdown city and she didn't even have to get poked. Hopefully she'll prove me wrong! Reply
    • June 26, 2013 at 8:49 pm
      Thanks Brynn! Andrea really hates the doctor too, the dentist was something else. I hope she surprises you like Andrea did for me! :) Reply

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