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How to Prepare for a Child's First Dentist Visit

January 23, 2019

How old should a child be for their first visit to the dentist?

Most people wait till the child is at least 3, but that’s 2 years too late according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. They recommend that a child’s first visit to the dentist take place when the first tooth comes in, or between 6 months to 1 year of age, whichever comes first.

Early exams and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.Scheduling the first visit at an early age is a great way to catch oral health problems early, and also get the child acquainted with the pediatric dentist and the dental office.

The first visit can be with either a pediatric or general dentist. Many dentists will allow a nervous child to sit on their parents lap during the exam to reduce any fears. Most dentists also offer rewards like stickers, balloons, and toothbrushes after the visit.

Another purpose of the visit is to watch for signs of decay or cavities in young children. Believe it or not, even baby teeth are at risk.

Your child’s dentist can provide information on how to best protect your child’s teeth, and the sooner they get started, the better chance they have to prevent dental problems in the future.

Children with healthy teeth chew their food easily and smile with confidence! Those are 2 great reasons why it’s a good idea to start your child now on the road to good oral health.

Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

  • Tell the child what to expect. For example: The dentist will count your teeth and brush them to make them clean and shiny.
  • Avoid phrases like “be brave” or “don’t be afraid”
  • Don’t bribe your child with special treats

What Happens on a Childs First Dentist Visit?

A typical child’s visit to the dentist will last between 15-30 minutes. During the visit the dentist may:

  • The dentist will conduct a gentle, comprehensive exam of the teeth, gums, jaw and bite
  • Depending on the child’s age and level of cooperation, they may clean the teeth and apply a topical fluoride treatment
  • Demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques
  • Discuss a preventive diet and good snacking habits
  • Discuss thumb sucking and pacifier use
  • Address the use of topical fluoride

Remember. tooth decay is nearly 100% preventable, so it’s important to establish good oral health habits and taking a trip to the dentist at a young age. For further information, visit us at

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