Child’s First Dental Visit

A child's first set of teeth, the primary teeth, are very important in helping your child to chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and look good. A child's first dental visit also is very important in launching your child on a lifetime of good dental health. The following information outlines important information regarding a child’s first dental visit.

FAQs

Why should I take my child to the dentist?
Your child's general health may be affected if diseased and broken primary teeth are not treated early. If a primary tooth is lost too soon, your child may need to wear a space maintainer until the permanent teeth erupt. Otherwise permanent teeth may come in crooked and possibly require lengthy and more expensive corrective treatment later.

At what age should my child first see a dentist?
Ideally, it's best to take your child to the dentist between six and twelve months of age. The earlier you begin, the better chance your dentist has to prevent problems. The dentist will look for decay, teach you how to properly clean your child's teeth daily, evaluate adverse habits such as thumbsucking and identify your child's fluoride needs.

How often should my child see a dentist?
It is generally recommended that children visit the dentist every six months. Since children's dental needs differ, your dentist is the best one to recommend how often that child should be seen based on his or her individual needs and habits.

What should I tell my child about seeing the dentist?
Tell your child that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will help the child stay healthy. Talk about the visit in a positive, matter-of-fact way as a pleasant, new adventure. Do the following:

  • Try to make dental visits enjoyable for your child.
  • Let your child go into the treatment room alone if the dentist prefers.
  • Set a good example by brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist regularly.

Don't do the following:

  • Bribe your child into going to the dentist.
  • Use a dental visit as punishment.
  • Let the child know you feel anxiety about the dental visit.
  • Let anyone tell your child scary stories about dental visits.

Resources

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: Dental Care for Your Baby
Simple Steps for Better Dental Health: Your Child’s First Dental Visit