If you’re a new parent, you undoubtably have experienced a lot of “firsts” and your baby has as well. When your baby is about 6 months old they will experience their first tooth. This means it’s time to start planning your child’s first dental visit.

Even before your child’s first tooth erupts, you should be gently cleaning their gums with a cloth, gauze, or a children’s soft bristle toothbrush with water. It’s important not to use fluoridated toothpaste at this time since it can cause fluorosis in forming teeth. This can lead to spotting on the teeth, discoloration, and pitting. Not only will cleaning your child’s gums help prepare them for a healthy smile, but it will also prepare them to feel more comfortable at the dentist.

There are a few other things you can do to help make our child’s first dental visit run smoothly.

  • Show your child videos about going to the dentist so the office feels more familiar when they visit.
  • Fill your paperwork out before your visit so you spend less time in the waiting room.
  • Come ready with a list of questions for the dentist that will help you create a good oral hygiene routine for your baby.

What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dental Visit

You’ll be accompanying your child in the room during their first dental exam. If your child is anxious or can’t sit still, they may sit on your lap. A pediatric dentist will perform a routine examination, checking for tooth decay, looking at your child’s jaw, gums, and bite. They will also look for any issues that can affect speech patterns. After the examination, they will gently clean your child’s teeth and gums and provide guidance on at-home care. They will also answer any questions you may have.

Once your child develops teeth, most dentists recommend they have regular dental checkups every 6 months, just like their parents, but this can vary based on the child’s needs. Your dentist will be able to recommend a treatment plan that’s best for you and your child.