It is generally recommended that a child be seen by a dentist by the age of 1 or within 6 months after his or her first tooth comes in.
What happens at the first dental visit?
The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. This visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist and other team members in a non-threatening and friendly way. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination. Depending on the age of the child, the parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and our staff. It is our first priority for your child to have a positive experience, with the desire to want to come and see us again.
During the exam, your dentist will check all of your child's existing teeth for decay, examine your child's bite and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw and oral tissues. If indicated, the dentist or hygienist will clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride. The dentist will also educate parents about oral health care basics for children and discuss dental developmental issues and answer any questions.
Topics your dentist may discuss with you might include:
- Good oral hygiene and cavity prevention practices for your child
- Fluoride needs
- Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking)
- Developmental milestones
- Proper nutrition, drink choices, etc.
- Schedule of dental checkups. Many dentists like to see children every six months to build up the child's comfort and confidence level in visiting the dentist, to monitor the development of the teeth and promptly treat any developing problems.
You will be asked to complete medical and health information and insurance forms for your child during the first visit. Please come prepared with the necessary information to help you complete these forms in entirety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website offers specific information on how to care for babies' and children's teeth.