First Visit

According to AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) guidelines, infants should initially visit the pediatric dentist around the time of their first birthday.  First visits can be stressful for parents, especially for parents who have dental phobias themselves.

It is imperative for parents to continually communicate positive messages about dental visits (especially the first one), and to help the child feel as happy as possible about visiting the dentist.

How can I prepare for my child’s first dental visit?

Preparing for your child's first dental visit can help create a positive and comfortable experience. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Choose the right time: Schedule the appointment at a time when your child is well-rested and cooperative, usually in the morning.

  2. Talk about the dentist: Discuss the dentist with your child using positive language. Explain that the dentist helps keep their teeth healthy and strong.

  3. Role-play: Pretend to be the dentist and let your child practice opening their mouth wide. Use a small mirror to show them what the dentist might do.

  4. Practice oral hygiene: Make brushing and flossing a fun and regular part of your child's routine. This will help them become comfortable with oral care.

  5. Stay positive and calm: Children often pick up on their parents' emotions. Maintain a positive and calm demeanor to help your child feel at ease.

  6. Bring comfort items: If your child has a favorite toy or blanket, allow them to bring it to the dental visit for added comfort.

  7. Be prepared to answer questions: Your child may have questions about the dentist visit. Answer them honestly and reassure them that the dentist is there to help.

  8. Read books or watch videos: Use age-appropriate books or videos about dental visits to familiarize your child with the process. This can help alleviate any anxiety they may have.

Here is a list of parent and dentist-approved books:

  • The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist – by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
  • Show Me Your Smile: A Visit to the Dentist – Part of the “Dora the Explorer” Series.
  • Going to the Dentist – by Anne Civardi.
  • Elmo Visits the Dentist – Part of the “Sesame Street” Series.

What will happen during the first visit?

The first dental visit for a child involves several important goals. Firstly, it is an opportunity for the pediatric dentist and the child to become acquainted. Secondly, the dentist assesses the child's tooth and jaw development to understand their overall health history. Thirdly, the dentist evaluates the health of the existing teeth and gums. Lastly, the dentist aims to address any questions and provide guidance to parents on maintaining good oral care.

Here is a typical sequence of events during the initial dental visit:

  1. The dental staff welcomes the child and parents.
  2. The infant/family health history is reviewed, which may involve completing questionnaires.
  3. The pediatric dentist addresses any questions or concerns raised by the parents.
  4. Further questions are asked, focusing on the child's oral habits, pacifier use, general development, tooth alignment, tooth development, and diet.
  5. The dentist provides advice on oral care practices, preventing oral injuries, fluoride intake, and the use of sippy cups.
  6. The infant's teeth are examined, typically with the child's head cradled in the dentist's lap, allowing the child to maintain eye contact with the parent.
  7. Demonstrations of proper brushing and flossing techniques are provided.
  8. The state of the child's oral health is described in detail, and specific recommendations are given, such as addressing oral habits, selecting appropriate toothpaste and toothbrushes, using orthodontically correct pacifiers, and maintaining a healthy diet.
  9. The dentist outlines which teeth may emerge in the coming months.
  10. An appointment schedule is discussed, and the dentist explains what will happen during the next visit.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s first dental visit, please contact our office.

Contact Us.We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form.

Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.