Your Child's First Visit

When Should a Child See the Dentist for the First Time?

Oral hygiene doesn’t begin when your child has a full set of teeth. It starts as soon as they’re born. Even before your child receives their first tooth, it’s important to clean your child’s mouth even before their first tooth comes in. The gums are also important for oral health so you should wipe them with a clean cloth. The ADA recommends that you bring them to their first dental appointment by the time they turn one year old or upon the eruption of their first tooth.

If your child’s tooth does not erupt by the time they turn one, you should still bring them to the dentist so we can teach you about how to care for your child’s oral health, what to expect, and examine their mouth for signs of any oral health problems. 

This visit is important for getting your child accustomed to the dentist. Contact us at First Smiles Children's Dentistry today to schedule your child’s first dental appointment.

dentist with child

Did you know…

Children can pick up on parents’ negative feelings and tend to mirror these attitudes. For this reason, you should not speak negatively about the dentist or act anxious.

Ready to schedule your child's appointment?

What Happens At Your Child’s First Visit

Comprehensive Exam

Dr. Chris Ha will perform an oral exam to look for signs of oral health issues such as tongue or lip ties, decay, and assess their bite.

Thorough Cleaning

If necessary, Dr. Ha can clean your child’s first tooth or gums. If your child has their first tooth, we can remove surface stains and plaque.

Tips on Oral Care

Dr. Ha can show you how to clean your child’s teeth and gums to prevent decay and gum disease. Advice on the use of fluoride will be given, as different age groups have different tolerance to fluoride. He will discuss your child’s risk of oral health issues such as cavities and how you can prevent these issues.

Nutrition Advice

Cavities are caused by improper brushing and flossing that leave behind food particles. Plaque forms around the gum line and feeds off of the left behind sugars and converts them into acids that attack the tooth’s enamel. These acid attacks can lead to holes or cavities. Dr. Ha will give you advice on how to feed your child a diet that reduces the risk of cavities.

Info About Thumb Sucking, Pacifier Use, & Baby Bottles

Giving your child a baby bottle at night before they go to sleep, sharing saliva, or putting sugary liquids in the baby bottle can lead to baby bottle decay. Likewise, prolonged pacifier use and thumb sucking can cause long-term oral health and orthodontic issues, especially if they continue until the permanent teeth come in. Dr. Ha will teach you how to wean your child off of these behaviors and what techniques are most effective, such as positive reinforcement.

Info About
Teething

Dr. Ha will inform you about your child’s teeth eruption and jaw development. He can tell you when you can expect the next tooth to erupt and how to relieve your child’s pain when they are teething.

Have Questions About Your Child’s First Visit?
Find Answers Here.

How Can We (As Parents) Prep Them?

You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day for two minutes until they’re 6 years old, or are able to tie their shoes on their own. After this, we recommend making brushing a family activity. You can demonstrate proper technique to your children, and make sure they’re brushing regularly.

  • Speak positively about the dentist
  • Explain how the dentist takes care of your teeth and is a good thing
  • Don’t use negative words like “drill”, “needle”, or “pain”
  • Do not visibly show anxiety or speak badly about the dentist
  • Do practice dental sessions with a stuffed animal
  • Allow them to bring something comforting like a toy, blanket, or stuffed animal to their appointment
  • Explain the importance of taking care of their teeth to your child
  • Demonstrate the proper way to clean your teeth and why you are doing it
  • Schedule the dentist appointment strategically - not during lunch or nap time
  • Reward good oral hygiene habits and dental visits
  • Read (positive) stories about the dentist to your child

Why Do I Want a Pediatric Dentist As Opposed to a family Dentist?

Pediatric dentists exclusively treat children. This has its advantages but ultimately a family dentist is much more flexible and convenient for the entire family. A family dentist can treat both children and adults for a variety of dental services. 

We enable you to schedule simultaneous or back-to-back dental appointments for the whole family which saves you time and stress. It can also be more comforting for your child to go to the same dentist that you go to and may wish to see you being treated so they feel less nervous. 

Treating both parent and child also enables us to detect hereditary oral health problems that a pediatric dentist wouldn’t. It’s good to have a dental home for your whole family so that when an emergency happens, you can get immediate treatment without the hassle of juggling different dentists.

Did you know…

You should not speak about pain concerning the dentist, whether you’re saying it will or won’t be painful.

Ready to schedule your child's next dental appointment?