Child’s First Dental Visit: What Can I Expect?

It’s time for your child’s first dental visit, often a time when both parents and kids get nervous. It seems as though your child is reaching a new milestone every day. From the first smile to the first tooth, your baby’s dental health is important, and the first dental appointment may be the next milestone. If it is time for your child to meet the dentist for the first time, you probably have lots of questions about what to expect. Not to worry. As parents, we all know how this feels so we developed a short bit of information to help take any possible surprises out of the equation.

Is it time to see the dentist?

The first question you probably have is regarding the normal age for a child’s first dental appointment. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling the first visit by their first birthday. It could even be sooner, depending upon your child’s dental development, but a good guideline is “first tooth or first birthday.”

This may seem premature to a lot of parents, but there is much more that will go into your child’s first visit than simply checking for cavities. Much of it will simply be a learning experience and a time for your child to meet and become familiar with your family dentist.

How should I prepare?

First of all, don’t stress. If you are worried or afraid about the appointment, your child will feel the same way, act like you’re going to get your hair cut or get some ice cream. You want it to be a fun experience and something to forward to. One way to prepare is by reading books or watching videos about dental health.

It is also important to think of any questions you may have beforehand. We all know how it feels to remember something you wanted to ask the doctor as soon as you pull out of the office parking lot, so you may want to make a short list of questions.

What will happen on the first visit?

Your child’s first dental appointment will likely include little actual treatment. The dentist will do a routine examination of your child’s mouth, but generally, this initial visit is about education and becoming familiar with the process. Things that you and your dentist may discuss include:

– Good oral hygiene and habits

– Teething and developmental milestones

– Proper nutrition and how to avoid cavities


Your child’s first visit to the dentist is certainly a big milestone, but it should not seem daunting. By the time you leave, you will probably have learned a lot and your child will have made a new friend.