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What to Expect from Your Child's First Dental Visit

There are hundreds of blogs, books, and podcasts that can prepare you for all of the firsts in your child’s life. Although there’s more information than ever available to parents, it can get confusing when everyone from gurus to your in-laws has an opinion on how to get your child ready for taking the big steps in life, including their first dental visit. 

If you want to tune out the noise and really know what to expect, turn to our experts. 

At ToothDocs, our team of caring, highly trained pediatric dentists led by Dr. Steven Kauftheil knows how important all the milestones are in your child’s life, especially those involving their oral health. We’re giving you an inside look into what you and your child can expect from their first appointment with us. 

The first visit

We recommend that you start taking your child to the dentist around their first birthday. This is essential to helping them feel comfortable in our office and allowing us to monitor their development. As they get older (around age 3), we’ll begin performing full teeth cleanings. 

Our main goal during your child’s first visit is to make it a positive and fun experience and help build your child’s confidence and comfort level at the dentist.

First, your child meets our friendly staff, gets introduced to our dental tools, and takes a ride in one of our dentist chairs. Once your child feels comfortable and at ease, we perform an examination of their mouth. 

During their first visit this typically means we check for frenum issues, gum problems, and bottle caries (cavities). We also assess the structure of their mouth, including their jaw, bite, teeth alignment, and potential speech problems, to make sure they’re developing properly.

We may ask you to hold your child during the examination to make sure they are completely comfortable. But by the second visit and, depending on their confidence level, we may ask you to leave the room to help your child establish a sense of independence. 

Our dentists also make you a part of the visit by talking through some of your concerns and guiding you toward proper oral hygiene for young children. We take the time to answer all your questions and give you the best advice. 

Talking positively about the dentist can also go a long way in helping them have a good experience at the dentist. Feeding them beforehand and even practicing opening and closing their mouth are other ways to make sure the first visit goes smoothly. 

Why pediatric dentistry matters

You might be wondering why you have to bring your child to the dentist when their first teeth are going to fall out eventually, but pediatric dentistry is crucial to your child’s health and development. 

Your child’s primary teeth impact the development of their permanent teeth and their ability to speak and chew properly. Furthermore, untreated cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States, with nearly 20% of children between the ages of 5-11 having at least one untreated decayed tooth. 

Our expert pediatric dentists are uniquely trained to address the oral health needs of young children and provide comprehensive care, including:

During your child’s subsequent visits, we also help them manage any oral health issues that stem from other health conditions such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever, a short frenulum, and pediatric periodontal disease.

If you’d like more information about our pediatric dentistry services, or if you’re ready to schedule your child’s first visit, don’t hesitate to call our office or request an appointment online or over the phone at any one of our three New York-area locations. 

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