Child’s first visit

“When should my child first see a dentist?”

The short answer is “First visit by first birthday.”
The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than 1 in 4 children have had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age 2.

To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride (for specific cases) to prevent problems.

But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age 1 dental visit lets parents discuss:

  • How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth
  • Proper use of fluoride
  • Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking
  • Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth
  • Teething and milestones of development
  • The link between diet and oral health

Preparing for the Age 1 Dental Visit

The purpose of the age 1 dental visit is to learn about your child’s oral health and how to best care for your child’s unique needs before any problems occur. Many dental problems can be prevented or more easily treated in the early stages. At this first visit, you will get your questions answered and we can start to build a relationship with your child.

What To Expect at the Office

The age 1 care visit is similar to a well-baby check at the physician’s office. We will: 

Review your child’s history

Respond to your questions and concerns

Talk with you about your child’s overall oral health, including:

Bite (how your child’s teeth will come together)
Soft tissues such as gums and cheeks
Oral habits such as sucking
Factors that affect the risk of cavities, such as diet, hygiene practices, fluoride use and whether others in the family have had cavities 
How to prevent trauma to your child’s mouth

Thoroughly examine your child’s mouth in the knee-to-knee position. (You and the dentist sit on chairs facing each other. Your child sits on your lap, facing you. You then lay your child back with his or her head in the dentist’s lap. In this position, both you and dentist can see clearly into your child’s mouth and your child can look up at you.) 

Show how to clean your child’s teeth and give you a chance to practice

Give specific advice about home care, including hygiene, diet and use of toothpaste and other fluorides

Tell you what to expect as your child grows and develops in the coming months

Suggest a schedule for follow-up care