Your Child's First Visit

First Dental Visit

For parents wondering when they should bring their child to the dentist, "First visit by first birthday" sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child's smile now and in the future.

first visit

The most important reason for taking your child to the dentist at such an early age is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. Early Childhood Caries (also know as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries) is a big concern in children and can be very traumatic. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food more easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.


The first visit to the dental office should be a pleasant experience for your child, however many children, especially those under 2 years of age, simply do not like having someone examine their mouths. Most pediatric dentists are good at playing with children and making them more comfortable. Under normal circumstances, the first visit to the dentist is simply an examination and consultation visit and should not cause your child any discomfort.


Parents should comfort their children about going to the dentist for the first time. Many children are afraid simply because they have been told scary stories by their siblings, friends, and sometimes by adults. Reassure your child that the dentist does not want to hurt them.

What you should expect on the first visit:

First Visits for Babies:

¨ Appointments for babies generally involve a simple examination. The dentist will look for any oral diseases or abnormal conditions.

¨ X-rays are not routinely taken on infants unless a problem is suspected.

¨ The dentist may counsel the parent on proper diet and oral care for their baby and explain what to anticipate as the child gets older.

First Visits for Children:

¨ The examination for children is generally a little more detailed and may include an examination of the teeth and gums as well as the surrounding hard and soft tissues. The dentist may perform a TMJ examination to assess how well the childs joints move. The dentist will also look to see if the shape, color, and eruption of the teeth appear normal.

¨ X-rays may be taken on older children or when cavities are suspected in order to determine the size of a cavity or to check and make sure the teeth are developing properly. X-rays may not be taken on young children or those whose behavior prevents them from sitting still.

¨ The dentist may clean the teeth with either a tooth brush or polisher and apply fluoride to the teeth.

¨ When the dentist is finished examining the child, he will consult the parent regarding his findings, the childs oral hygiene, dietary recommendations, treatment plan, and any questions the parent may have about their child.

First Visits for Teenagers:

¨ Your teenager will have a thorough examination of their teeth, gums, hard and soft tissues, and TMJ.

¨ Their oral hygiene will be assessed, and their gums will be checked for the presence of gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis).

¨ X-rays will be taken to access the jaws, presence or absence of wisdom teeth, presence or absence of any pathology ,and to check for cavities.

¨ Your teenager may be counseled about their oral hygiene and diet as well as the appearance of their teeth.

¨ The doctor, parent, and patient will talk to decide on a mutually acceptable treatment plan and answer any questions.

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