Your Child’s First Dentist Visit

As your child starts to develop teeth, you probably have a lot of questions.  You might be wondering what is normal, what else you can expect throughout development, when and how you should start brushing their teeth, and more.  A lot of these questions will be answered during your child’s first dental visit.  Read on to learn more.   

When Should You First Visit the Dentist?

As a general rule, you should have your child’s first dentist visit by their first birthday, or six months after they develop their first tooth — whichever comes first.  If your child is born with a natal tooth and it starts to cause problems nursing or mouth sores, you will need to visit the dentist as soon as possible.  

How Can I Find the Right Dentist?

You will want to visit a pediatric dentist, as not all dentists are used to dealing with patients under the age of 8.  The first thing you need to do is call the office and ask when you should bring your child in for their first visit.  If they don’t answer by their first birthday, you’re better off using a different office.  You should also try to find a dentist that makes you and your child feel comfortable.  Many people have dental phobia due to traumatic experiences they had as a child, so you can help prevent that by visiting a dentist that makes you and your child feel safe.  

What Can I Expect?

On your first visit, the office staff will review your child’s history (much like a pediatric doctor visit), and answer any questions or concerns you have.  When you and your child are ready, you will have a knee-to-knee oral examination with the dentist.  You will carefully lay your child down facing you, with his or her head in the dentist’s lap.  The dentist will do a thorough yet gentle examination of their teeth and jaw.  He or she will teach you how to properly care for your child’s teeth as well as give you an opportunity to practice.  If necessary, your dentist will apply fluoride to your child’s teeth (especially if they are at a high risk for developing cavities).  Your dentist will also discuss with you tooth milestones, your child’s risk factors, and more.  You should bring a favorite toy or blanket to soothe your child if necessary.  Having a positive dental experience as a child can help prevent dental phobia in the future.