pediatric dentist

What To Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

When your child visits the dentist for the first time, it’s a big step. It can even be a bit scary. They’ll be exposed to the sounds of drilling and the sights of masked dentists examining patient’s mouths.

The good news is that this experience can be made easier by putting a bit of thought and preparation into your child’s first dental appointment.

Timing Is Everything

First of all, let’s address when you should take your child to the dentist for their first appointment. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children have their initial oral health checkup after their first baby teeth begin emerging or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.

What To Expect

Your child’s pediatric dental team is trained to help your child have fun at their first dental appointment. This helps set the tone for the rest of their appointments into their adult lives.

At your child’s first pediatric dental appointment, their dental hygienist will:

  • Examine and clean their baby teeth
  • Go over dietary and fluoride needs
  • Provide recommendations for oral care products
  • Instruct you how to properly clean your baby’s teeth

Your child’s dentist will then:

  • Examine your child’s mouth for signs of tooth decay
  • Discuss your baby’s oral development
  • Answer any questions that you may have about your baby’s teeth and oral development

At the conclusion of your child’s first pediatric dental appointment, they will likely be provided with an oral health bag containing things like a toddler toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.

Making Preparations

Here are a few ways that you can make your child’s first dental appointment go more smoothly:

Spark Curiosity

A good way to ease your child into their first dental appointment is to spark their curiosity about dentistry through games, books, children’s TV shows, and other fun activities. You can even role-play as the dentist to make the idea of brushing and flossing their teeth a fun activity.

When children see their favorite characters overcoming their dread of visiting the dentist, it can spark curiosity about their appointment and help them realize that they can also have a good experience at their first dental appointment. 

Take Them Along

Before your child’s first dental appointment, it may be a good idea to let them tag along to one of your own. They can meet some of their dental team in advance and have some of their questions answered before setting foot in the office for their own appointment. This sense of familiarity often makes it easier on children when the time comes for their first dental appointment. 

Bring a Passive Toy or Stuffed Animal

It can help to ease anxiety by bringing your child’s favorite stuffed animal along to their first dental appointment. Sometimes, kids have a favorite blanket that they would like to bring. Don’t underestimate the comfort that these types of items can bring to your child as they face a new experience that even some adults are anxious about.

Learn More

Contact our team to learn about pediatric dentistry! New patients are always welcome.


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