Tips for a Stress-Free Back-to-School Dental Checkup

It’s time for that back-to-school dental check-up, but your child AND you are nervous about it. How are you going to fit it into your remaining summer plans and school preparations? How can you calm your anxious child so that they are calmer about their dental visit compared to last year? We have provided a summary of the ADA online Mouth Healthy article, “8 Secrets to a Successful Back-to-School Dental Checkup.” This article provides some wonderful tips to help make this year’s back-to-school dental checkup more successful than the last.

Plan Ahead:

The first thing that the above ADA article recommends is to plan ahead when scheduling your child’s back-to-school dental visit. In other words, if you haven’t already scheduled it, please do so as soon as you are able. This will help you avoid the back-to-school rush.

Wisely Choose the Time of Day:

You want your child to be at their best, if at all possible, for their back-to-school appointment. This means trying not to schedule their visit during their usual naptime, or after a busy day of summer camp or a day of school.

Make One Child a Model:

If you have two or more children scheduled back-to-back, it is wise to allow the child who has had the most positive experiences at the dentist to go first. This way, the more nervous child can learn from their positive example.

Feed Your Child Ahead of Time:

Allowing your child to eat something light before their appointment helps eliminate possible grouchiness. Also, light is better than heavy food to help those children who might have a more pronounced gag reflex. And remember to have them brush before their appointment!

Leave Your Anxiety at the Door:

The ADA article explains that kids pick up on their parent’s dental anxiety. In fact, the article advises that parents be even more careful in how they communicate with their younger children, and that they not allow their own negative dental experiences to influence their child. The goal is to communicate to your child that they can be successful in accomplishing a good dental visit, says the article.

Keep Cool If Your Child Won’t Cooperate:

It is possible that even if you do everything you can to help create a positive experience for your child’s back-to-school dental visit, they still may not cooperate. If this happens, the article advises that you do not rescue your child by leaving the office, or the next visit will be harder. Instead, it suggests that you allow the dentist to lead the conversation with your child so that they can have a chance to build a relationship with them. Give your dentist a chance to turn the situation around.


We know that you have so much on your mind as the new school year approaches. The last thing you want is a stress-filled, back-to-school dental visit for your child. We hope that the above ADA suggestions help you and your child to accomplish just that!



American Dental Association. 8 Secrets to a Successful Back-to-School Dental Checkup. Mouth Healthy. Accessed August 9, 2021.