What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Team Pediatric Dentistry

When you take your children to the dentist for a first visit, you’re helping them grow up feeling comfortable with visiting the dentist, and to establish good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.  

Early check ups will:

  • Prevent cavities and tooth decay
  • Help children chew easily and speak clearly
  • Help build confident smiles 
  • Lead to healthy mouths their whole lives

How Soon Should a Child Visit the Dentist?

Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say kids should visit a dentist by age of one. After all, an early visit can help parents and caregivers provide the best care for their children’s teeth, too, by providing them with: 

  • Information on cavity prevention and what causes decay
  • Why it’s important to switch to a cup rather than bottle feeding by age one 
  • Discouraging on-demand night feeding once a child’s first teeth appear
  • Information on brushing small childrens’ teeth.

Making sure that children learn good oral health habits and care at an early age is important for their overall health and well being, and will help them avoid problems such as: 

  • Gum and tooth pain
  • Difficulty eating or sleeping
  • Gum inflammation or disease
  • Self-consciousness when smiling or talking

And an early visit means that your dentist can provide any needed restorative services for children, such as fillings, crowns, or extractions. 

What Will Happen on that First Dental Visit

To make the first visit as quick and comfortable for your child as possible, fill out any new patient forms online before coming to the office. With that information already provided, your child’s first dental visit will begin with a friendly welcome, before taking you back for your appointment in the treatment area.  

A dental hygienist leads you and your child together to a comfortable, colorful pediatric treatment room. Depending on your child’s age, your tot may sit on your lap during the exam rather than sitting on the exam chair on their own. 

Unlike an adult exam, it’s unlikely that your child will receive a dental x-ray, unless absolutely necessary. 

Next, your pediatric dentist will greet your child, and perform a fast but complete and thorough exam. Our dentists at OCP Dental will tell children what they’re going to do in an easy to understand, friendly way, and show and explain any instruments they’ll be using. When your child is comfortable, only then will our skilled pediatric dentist count and examine your child’s teeth, gums, and jaws, evaluating their growth and development. 

Dental cleaning may or may not be done. At a one-year-old’s first visit, we let your child guide, and we may not perform a cleaning. For a child aged 2-4 we are more likely to perform a gentle cleaning, explaining the process in a tell, show, and then do technique. We will also floss your child’s teeth.  

After the exam and cleaning, we’ll offer the information you need for your child’s dental health, and answer any questions you might have, from the best nutrition for having healthy teeth to the use of a pacifier, as well as letting you know when your child should come back for a second visit - most likely in six months.

Help Your Child Keep a Healthy Mouth

We’ll advise you on the best ways to keep teeth and gums strong and healthy, such as brushing children’s teeth twice a day as babies to teaching older children to brush and floss twice a day on their own. It’s important to make sure your child receives enough fluoride, including brushing with a toothpaste that includes fluoride. Also important: using a gentle, size-appropriate brush for your child’s mouth.

And, when it comes to diet, a healthy diet that’s big on vegetables and fruits, and low in sugary sodas and hard candy is important as well. 

Lastly, bringing your child to visit the dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings is also a great way to ensure healthy teeth for our child. 

Ready to Bring Your Child for a Visit?

If you’re ready to schedule a visit to the dentist for your child, reach out today! We’ll start your child on a lifetime journey for good oral health that will keep your child smiling! Call us, today!