Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

Your Child's First Dental Visit – What to Expect

by Brett Clark

The first visit to the dentist can be a bit overwhelming for your child, so it's important to know what to expect beforehand. Your child may be too young to understand, but as a parent, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your child is in good hands.

Pediatric Dentist vs. Adult Dentist

It makes sense to bring your child to your dentist; however, keep in mind that there are pediatric dentists who specialize in dealing with children. They have extra training in dealing with little ones, including behaviour and psychology. Typically, the décor and surroundings are geared to younger kids, and the entire staff is trained to make children feel at ease in the offices.

That is not to say that your regular professional won't be good enough; you will have to decide where to take your kids for treatment.

When to visit

Generally, a first visit is warranted at about the age of 12 months, or a few months after the first tooth comes in. This is not a hard and fast rule, however. You can wait until all of your child's teeth have come in, or wait until they reach a certain age, it's up to you. You know your child better than anyone else, and can gauge how they will handle the situation.

What to Expect

The first visit doesn't typically consist of any kind of treatment. The dentist will have a look at your child's overall oral health and will identify any potential issues or problems that might arise in the future. X-rays are not usually done at this time, unless the dentist thinks they are necessary. There will also be paperwork for you to fill out so the office can open a file on your child. Other things that will be discussed include:

  • Recommended dental care at home
  • Fluoride needs
  • Your child's oral habits (thumb-sucking, soother, etc.)
  • Teething
  • Proper nutrition
  • Schedule of future visits

Subsequent Visits

It's important for your child to get into the routine of visiting a dentist every six months or so. This will help develop healthy habits for years to come, and will continue when they are adults. Regular visits will help the dentist identify problems and monitor the development of the teeth.

Sometimes, that first visit can be more nerve-racking for parents than children, who may be too young to understand. Knowing what to expect and being prepared can keep you calm and at ease, which will in turn keep your child calm.