Baby at the dentist office

Recommendations for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Going to the dentist can be a stressful event for an adult, let alone a child who has never been there before. Getting a child of any age comfortable with visiting their Jacksonville pediatric dentist can be tough, especially if they don’t know what to expect at their appointment.

Fortunately, setting your children up for successful visits to the dentist and good lifelong oral care habits is easy, with a little pre-planning and a positive attitude.

Here are some basic guidelines all parents should follow in getting your children on the straight and narrow oral health care path… one that will create good oral health for their whole lives.

When Should I Start Taking My Kids to a Children’s Dentist

Many parents are surprised to find out that they should be visiting their pediatric dentist much earlier than previously thought.

Your child’s first dental visit should take place about six months after their first tooth emerges or within the first year of their life, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

This first visit is important because it gives the dentist a chance to check for any problems, clean your child’s teeth, and apply fluoride. It also gives you a chance to ask the dentist any questions you may have about your child’s oral health.

Not only will regular dental visits to the dentist help to calm anxiety with subsequent appointments, but your child’s primary teeth will also be properly cleaned and cared for, which will help to promote overall mouth health and prepare for adult teeth to come in naturally.

At what age should my child get his first dental cleaning?

From the very first time your child visits their pediatric dentist, they can start to receive care.

Brushing and stimulating soft tissues in the mouth, getting an overall inspection of tooth and gum health, and gently cleaning any emerging teeth will help to reduce tartar and buildup that can lead to later decay and further complications.

While these early visits may not take very long, they will be essential in setting your child up with good oral care habits that they can carry with them long into adulthood.

How often should I take my children to the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends taking your children to their pediatric dentist at least every six months, with more visits required for children needing special care or considerations.

Children found to have excess plaque formation or tartar buildup are advised to come in as often as every three to four months to keep teeth in tip-top shape.

Talk with one of our dentists to determine how often they should be seen as part of a total oral wellness program.

Little girl getting her teeth cleaned

What Happens At A Child’s First Dental Visit?

1. The Dentist Will Examine Your Child’s Teeth

The dentist will use a small mirror to look at all of your child’s teeth, both top and bottom. They will also check your child’s gums to make sure they are healthy. The dentist may use a small tool to count your child’s teeth.

2. The Dentist Will Clean Your Child’s Teeth

The dentist will use a small, soft brush to clean your child’s teeth. They may also use a small suction device to remove any plaque or tartar buildup. The dentist may also floss your child’s teeth.

3. The Dentist May Take X-Rays

The dentist may take x-rays of your child’s teeth. This is important because it allows the dentist to see if there are any problems with your child’s teeth that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

4. The Dentist Will Talk To You About Your Child’s Oral Health

The dentist will talk to you about your child’s oral health. They will discuss things like how to brush and floss your child’s teeth, what type of toothpaste to use, and how often to visit the dentist.

5. The Dentist May Give Your Child A Fluoride Treatment

The dentist may give your child a fluoride treatment. Fluoride is important because it helps to prevent cavities.

6. The Dentist May Give You A Treatment Plan

The dentist may give you a treatment plan. This plan will outline any treatments that your child may need.

7. The Dentist May Refer You To A Pediatric Dentist

If the dentist thinks your child may need more specialized care, they may refer you to a pediatric dentist.

What Should I Do To Prepare For My Child’s First Dental Visit?

1. Choose A Pediatric Dentist

The first step is to choose a pediatric dentist. You can ask your family and friends for recommendations, or you can search online for a list of pediatric dentists in your area.

2. Schedule An Appointment

Once you have chosen a pediatric dentist, you will need to schedule an appointment. Most pediatric dentists have daytime and evening hours to accommodate busy families.

3. Prepare Your Child For The Visit

Preparing your child for the visit is important. You should explain to your child what will happen at the appointment. You can also read them a book about going to the dentist, or show them a video about going to the dentist.

4. Bring Your Child’s Medical Records

You should bring your child’s medical records to the appointment. This includes their immunization records.

5. Be Prepared To Answer Questions

The dentist will ask you questions about your child’s medical history and oral health. Be prepared to answer these questions truthfully.

6. Follow Up After The Visit

After the visit, be sure to follow up with the dentist. Ask them about any treatments that your child may need. Also, be sure to schedule your child’s next appointment.


Visiting the dentist can be a scary experience for a child, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the AAPD guidelines and preparing for the appointment, you can make sure that your child’s first dental visit is a positive one.

First Dental Visit was last modified: July 27th, 2022 by Farnham Dentistry