The First Dental Visit For A Child: Why It’s Important

Taking care of their teeth is a responsibility that children eventually have to take up on their own. As well as setting them on the right path for a life of good oral hygiene, proper dental care at an early age will ensure a child remains happy and in good health. In any child's life, their first visit to the dentist is a very important event:

What Is the Ideal Age for A Child's First Dental Visit?

The best time to book that first dental appointment for a child is any time up until they are aged two or six months after their first tooth erupts. This timeline enables a dentist to:

  • evaluate how the child's mouth is developing so that they can better advise the parent on hygiene and teething matters
  • address any problems that are evident from thumb sucking or using a pacifier. 

It really is best for a child to start seeing a dentist as early as possible because tooth decay and different problems with the teeth can start early.       

What Does a First Visit Entail?

Usually, a child's first dental visit is not a long one and treatment is rarely required. A first visit is usually a friendly introduction to put the child at ease and allow them to become familiar with the dentist's office. There is often a short, non-invasive examination of the child's mouth, where the dentist will look at the child's general dental health:

  1. Check any teeth the child already has for signs of decay.
  2. Examine the patient's bite.
  3. Ensure there are no problems with the jaw, gums, or mouth tissues.
  4. Clean any existing teeth if appropriate.
  5. Check if fluoride needs to be applied.

But more importantly, this should be an educational visit to teach the child and parent about oral hygiene and answer any questions or concerns the parent has. It is also an opportunity to gain the child's trust. After this first visit, the next six-monthly visits should be easier as the child becomes accustomed to the dental environment. 

What Dental Education Entails

  1. Advice on maintaining proper oral hygiene covering the gums and teeth and how to prevent cavities.
  2. Recommendation on whether fluoride supplements are needed.
  3. Advice on different habits and how they affect the oral cavity, such as using a pacifier, sucking the thumb, and tongue thrusting.
  4. Advice on tooth and other developmental matters.
  5. Nutritional guidance – i.e. the food and drinks that should be avoided to reduce risk of tooth decay.
  6. Setting up the schedule for follow-on dental appointments, usually at six month intervals.


The key point here is that every child needs the right level of dental care and they need to be instructed on how to protect their dental health. The better and healthier a child's teeth will be in adulthood the earlier they are encouraged to take care of them. To learn more, contact a company such as Southridge Pediatric Dentistry with any questions or concerns you have.