Getting your child ready
A child’s first visit to the dentist is an exciting milestone. But it’s also an important appointment that can help set them on a lifelong path toward good oral health.
The right time to schedule a first visit is within six months of their first tooth coming in, or no later than their first birthday. This timing is crucial because it’s important to:
Learn how to help your child avoid cavities and reduce health risks.
Find out who to call if there is an emergency.
Get to know your child’s dentist.
In the long run, you’ll also save money by learning how to take care of your child’s oral health and reducing the risk of more serious or expensive issues.
Getting your child ready
In advance of the visit, give them an idea of what to expect:
Go over what will happen at the appointment (more on that below). And be sure not to pass on any personal fear you may have of dentists to your child. Give them every opportunity to enjoy their first visit.
Explain why it’s important to go to the dentist and how it keeps them healthy.
Take time to answer any questions they may have.
Try to schedule a morning appointment when your child is likely to be more awake and attentive.
The day of the visit, go over what to expect one more time. Don’t share any negative experiences that you or other family members may have had with the dentist – instead, remain calm and positive! Your child will likely mirror the feelings you express about the appointment.
It can help to bring a comfort item or quiet game so they can have a little fun while they wait. It’s also an option to plan a positive reward for after the appointment.
What will happen during the visit?
During the routine exam, the dentist will check your child for cavities and review overall growth and development. The dentist will also demonstrate how to properly brush and floss your child’s teeth at home to make sure you’re as effective as possible in removing the plaque bacteria from all tooth surfaces.
To help you continue to care for your child’s oral health, you and your dentist will also:
Discuss food, drinks, and habits that can cause cavities and healthy alternatives
Review the vital role fluoride plays in strengthening tooth enamel and protecting your child’s smile
Be given helpful information for preventing accidents as your child grows
Why is it important to practice good oral health care from an early age? Because untreated oral health issues will continue to worsen over time – and more than half of children ages 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one baby tooth.1
By taking your child to the dentist, you’re pointing them toward the path of good oral health. Prepare a little in advance to make sure it’s a great appointment!