Your child’s first dental visit: What to expect

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child's dental appointment

There is a lot to consider in a child’s first year of life. It can be daunting taking your child to the dentist for the first time. You may be unsure about what to expect. However, our team of dentists strive to provide positive experiences for you and your child.

The dentist will examine your child in the dental chair. Depending on their age, we may need your help to sit with your child. Infants and toddlers may cry during checkups, while older kids can sometimes be nervous or hesitant. This is all perfectly normal! Our dental team will guide you and your child through the process. For older children, you can read or show them stories of their favourite characters going to the dentist before their first visit. Avoid using scary words like “drill”, “needle”, or “pulling teeth”.

There will be a discussion about the factors that influence oral health, including diet, eating habits, and oral hygiene practices. Baby teeth are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Whilst the teeth are temporary, they play an essential role in developing permanent teeth. Please bring your child’s toothbrush and toothpaste so that the dentist can assess whether they are suitable. Plus, that means we can practice tooth brushing techniques together!

During the appointment, age-specific risk factors will also be discussed. For example, nursing habits and pacifier use for infants versus dental trauma for active toddlers.

Based on the examination and discussion, the dentist will give their recommendations and may offer teeth cleaning (for plaque/stain removal or to introduce your child to the dental instruments) and topical fluoride application (for prevention of decay). Other required treatments are generally scheduled for the next visit. Simple procedures may be offered if time permits and the child is comfortable. 

Your child’s dentist may also discuss growth and development, as well as your child’s health outside of the mouth and teeth. The dentist may also need further medical history from you if relevant to your child’s visit. 

Did you know?

The American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry recommends that a child sees a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth coming in. If your little one is over one, no biggie! There’s no better time than now – the first dental visit can be much more stressful if your child only comes when they have a toothache.