Child's First Dentist Visit
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 re-schedule several short visits.
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 15–30 minutes and may include X-rays and/or 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 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.
Help your kids get excited about taking care of their teeth with the fun games and activities in Marshall Molar’s Kid Corner! Many topics also are available as downloadable flyers in our oral health flyers section.