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A Guide to Your Kid’s First Dental Visit

Dentist showing a dental tool to a happy child

Your kids’ first dentist visit is a milestone that can set them up for a lifetime of good dental health. Although it may feel stressful for them (or you as a parent!), if you know how to prepare and what to expect, you can turn it into a positive experience. Here is everything you need to know about having a perfect first appointment.

When Should You Schedule Your Kid’s First Dentist Visit?

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests you take your children to their first dental appointment before they turn one or when their first tooth erupts. You can make an appointment based on the event that occurs first. The longer you delay this visit, the more you increase their risk of developing dental problems. Receiving preventative dental services at a younger age can keep issues like dental caries at bay.

In the meantime, you can start teaching oral hygiene practices to your kids, even by letting them hold a toothbrush or watch you brush before they can do it themselves. It is never too early to create good dental habits. The sooner you do it, the better it is for your kid’s teeth.

How to Prepare Your Kids for Their First Visit to the Dentist

Before you bring your kids in for their first dental visit, prepare them by telling them what will happen at this appointment. There are many children’s books about friendly dentists you can read to them to paint a positive picture of your kids’ first dentist in their minds. There are short movies you can watch and games you can play to make them feel comfortable with the idea of visiting the doctor. If you think they are still nervous on the day of their appointment, you can let them bring one of their favorite toys with them for reassurance.

What to Expect at Your Kid’s First Dental Appointment

Your child’s first appointment will probably be a short visit where they can get acquainted with their dentist and warm up to them. You will be able to sit in the room with your kid as the dentist examines their mouth to check their teeth, gums, and bite.

Our team may also perform dental cleanings and fluoride treatments for older kids to protect their teeth from future cavities. The dentist will then ask about your kid’s medical history and talk to you about correct brushing and flossing techniques as well as nutrition.

Questions Parents Ask At their Kid’s First Dental Visit

At your kid’s first dentist visit, you will also have the opportunity to ask all your questions regarding your children’s dental health. Here are some of the most common questions parents ask us.

Q: How often should I bring my children for a dental appointment?

A: Generally, you should bring your kids in for a dental checkup every six months. If your child is experiencing tooth pain or heavily inflamed gums, we may recommend follow-up appointments sooner than six months.

Q: What should I do if my children have dental emergencies?

A: Learn to identify dental emergencies and what to do when your kids have tooth pain. Call our office if you have concerns, and we will do our best to schedule you as soon as possible—or recommend that you seek urgent care if the situation warrants it.

Q: Is it safe to use toothpaste for my baby?

A: For babies under 2 years old, clean their teeth regularly with water and a soft toothbrush or cloth, especially after giving them a bottle to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. During your kid’s first dentist visit, the doctor can further recommend a safe toothpaste to use for young kids.

Q: When should they start using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash?

A: You can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash when your kids are at least 3 years old. The dentist can teach you how to brush your toddler’s teeth properly in their first dental visit.

Q: What toothpaste and mouthwash are best for them?

A: Your children’s toothpaste should have at least 1,000 ppm fluoride. The doctor can recommend the best toothpaste and mouthwash brand for your kids at their first dentist visit based on their tooth sensitivity and oral needs. 

Q: When should my children start flossing?

A: Your kids should start flossing when they have two adjacent teeth that touch, around 2 or 3 years old. Watching you floss your teeth will help kids feel less nervous about the process.

Q: How can I prevent my kids from developing bad dental habits?

A: Start modeling good dental habits for your kids early on so they can copy you. For young kids, the more involved they are in the process, the more likely they will follow your direction. Let them pick out a special toothbrush at the store or play their favorite song while brushing.

Q: When should they have their first dental X-rays?

A: Most children will have their first dental x-rays by age 5 or when their permanent teeth start to erupt.

Q: Will my children need braces?

A: Your kids may need braces if they have misaligned teeth and struggle with chewing. The dentist can determine this at their appointment.

Why Choose Children’s Dentistry for Your Kid’s First Dental Visit

If you are still looking for your kid’s first dentist, you are in the right place! Here at Children’s Dentistry, we tend to young patients from all over Western Montana in the most kid-friendly office filled with exciting toys, video games, and prizes. Your kids will feel completely safe and cared for by our welcoming staff and kind dentists. 

Our convenient locations and flexible schedules allow you to bring your kids in for their first visit. You won’t even have to miss work as we offer appointments on Saturdays. On top of that, we accept most insurance plans, including Montana Medicaid.

We’re accepting new patients at our three locations in Lolo, Frenchtown, and Superior. Give us a call if you’re unsure which of our clinics to go to. Our staff will recommend the location with the soonest opening so you can schedule your kid’s first dentist appointment. We can’t wait to welcome you to our Children’s Dentistry family and give your kids the best dental care possible.