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Your Oral Health

Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist

Unless a problem is suspected, your dentist would like to see your child 6 months after the first tooth erupts, but no later than 12 months of age. The most important goals of this first visit are to introduce your child to the office surroundings and to develop a trust in the dentist and staff. The dentist views this visit as an icebreaker. If your child is too frightened, uncomfortable, or uncooperative, the dentist's staff may have to reschedule several short visits.

Avoid phrases like "Be brave!" or "Don't be afraid." 

Do not try to explain the first visit yourself. Avoid phrases like "Be brave!" or "Don't be afraid." Don't bribe the child with special treats to get him or her to the office. Instead, be positive and reassuring that the visit will be fun. Present it as something to which the child can look forward.

The appointment should last 15 to 30 minutes and may include X-rays and a gentle, comprehensive examination of the teeth, gums, jaws, bite, and oral tissues. The purpose of the examination is both to observe any problems and to establish a baseline so that the dentist can monitor the child's growth and development. Depending on your child's age and degree of cooperation, the dentist or a staff member may also clean and polish his or her teeth and apply a topical fluoride.

Parents should bring any of the child's medical records to the first appointment. The staff will discuss and answer any questions you may have at that time. The dentist's objective is to be gentle and patient so that the child develops a positive attitude toward the dental office and his or her own oral health. The long-term goals are prevention and minimizing any dental problems as the child matures.

Related Oral Health and Wellness Information

Are You Thumbing Your Mouth at Me?
Care of Primary Teeth
Dental Health from Birth to Age 3
Eating Right for Your Oral Health
Handling Dental Emergencies
Pregnancy and Oral Health
Preventing Tooth Decay
Preventive Dentistry: Toothbrushing
The Developing Dentition: What to Expect

Oral Health and Wellness content provided by Dentalxchange