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Slide 2

Taking Your Child to the Dentist for the First Time


When you take your child to the dentist early on, you set the foundation for good oral hygiene into their adolescence and adulthood. You get the opportunity to learn how to prevent early childhood cavities, practice good habits, and manage a healthy diet. Learn more about what you can expect from your child’s first dental visit.

Baby’s First Dental Visitchild's first dental visit

When does a child first go to the dentist?

Experts in pediatric dentistry recommend you take your child to their first dental visit before their first birthday or after their first baby tooth erupts. Some parents are shocked by the necessity to take their child to the dentist so early, but this visit is the first step in preventing cavities and learning about good oral hygiene. Some infants and toddlers get their first cavities by the time they turn two, for the lack of good oral care.

What can we expect from my child’s first dental visit?

During your child’s first dental visit, you will have the chance to ask your family dentist about properly caring for your baby’s teeth. Often, the best position to perform the exam is by sitting face to face with the dentist. The baby will sit in the parent’s lap, facing the parent, so they can be placed on their back with their head in the dentist’s lap. This way, both the parent and the dentist can see into the baby’s mouth.

Once the baby is comfortable, your pediatric dentist will give you instructions on how to clean your baby’s teeth. You will also have the opportunity to practice cleaning them yourself and receive advice on perfecting your at-home oral hygiene routine, including how to incorporate the proper use of fluoride.

Your family dentist will also review your child’s medical history with you and discuss any possible risk factor for developing cavities or other dental problems. He or she will also preview dental milestones coming up, like how to deal with teething, thumb-sucking, and more.

A dental hygienist may clean child’s teeth and apply fluoride if there is any staining on the child’s baby teeth.

After your child’s first dental visit, your pediatric dentist will want to schedule follow-up visits. Children should usually see their dentist every six months, but sometimes more often, depending on your child’s needs and risk factor for dental problems.

How do I make this first dental visit stress-free?

Going to the dentist for the first time can be a little stressful for babies. Here are some tips on how to make the first dental visit go by more smoothly:

  • Schedule your appointment for the time of day which your baby is least fussy.
  • Never surprise your baby with a dentist appointment; prepare them by reading a book about why going to the dentist is important.
  • Bring along your baby’s favorite toy for comfort.
  • You should also schedule an appointment for your baby’s older sibling on the same day. This can show the baby that the dentist is not a dangerous person.
  • Never be afraid to reschedule an appointment if your child is too upset that day.
  • Reward your well-behaved child with stickers or another prize.

Choose the Best Family Dentistry Practice

Find a pediatric dentist who makes you feel comfortable. At Cabrillo Family Dental Care, we are dedicated to providing your family with the kindest and most gentle care. Learn more about our children’s dentistry services and find out the best time to bring in your child for their first dental visit.