How Do You Prepare Your Child for Their First Visit to the Dentist?

Going to the dentist is an important part of your child’s overall well-being that leads to a healthy smile down the road. While some infants get their teeth in early, others seem to take forever, which can make it a little tricky to figure out when to book your first appointment.

Here are some general guidelines about when to schedule your little one’s first appointment and how to make going to the dentist a positive experience from day one.

child at the pediatric dentist

When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist for Their First Appointment?

Most dentists agree that an initial children’s dental appointment should happen by age one1 or within six months of getting their first tooth to begin making them feel comfortable with the dentist’s office and the procedures that take place.

Although toddlers will be losing their baby teeth in a few years, preventive care is still vital for young teeth. Taking your child in for a checkup while teeth are strong and healthy will allow your dentist to catch any trouble spots and set up healthy habits to last throughout their childhood and teen years.

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What Time Should I Schedule My Child’s First Appointment?

Scheduling an appointment2 at a good time gives you the best possible chance at making your first visit a great experience for everyone. Here are two essential factors to consider when deciding when to make your first appointment.

mother scheduling a dentist appointment for her son

1. Choose a Good Time for Your Child

It’s best to schedule dental services for your child when they are well-rested and fed. Try not to schedule an appointment around naptime or lunchtime when kids are hungry or tired. Stick with a time of day that they are most likely to receive the new experience positively.

2. Choose a Less Busy Time for Your Dental Office

If possible, it’s worth trying to schedule an appointment when the office tends to be less busy to limit waiting time and keep things moving as quickly as possible.

How Do I Prepare My Child for Their First Visit?

Even before you schedule your appointment, there are steps you can take to set your child up for success, including:

  • Find a good dentist – Finding a good fit for you and your child is key to a positive experience. See if they have experience with young children. Talk to friends and family for recommendations to a good children’s dentist office.
  • Be positive – Talk about how important our teeth are and all the exciting things dentists do. If you feel stressed about the dentist yourself, your child may pick up on that and start to feel anxiety about their visit to the dentist.
  • Talk about the dentist, read books or watch a video – Preparing them ahead of time for what to expect can help make the unknown a little less frightening.
  • Make it fun – Plan a fun event after the dentist, so they have something to look forward to. Using positive reinforcement can help with motivation.
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How Can I Be Ready for My Child’s First Dental Visit?

mother filling out dental patient form with child

Think about what comforts your child and what can be used as a reward if things don’t go as planned. Keep some distractions on hand in case of a wait, and be sure to ask your kid’s dentist any questions you have about regular cleanings and care.

What to Bring

  • A soothing item (stuffed animal, special toy, etc.)
  • Distractions while you wait (phone, book, music)
  • Rewards for after the visit (snack or a special place)
  • Reassurance that you’ll be there

Questions to Ask

  • How often should they brush their teeth?
  • What kind of toothpaste and toothbrush should they use?
  • How often should I take my child for a checkup?
  • When should my child have dental X-rays taken?

The first visit is primarily for your child to become comfortable with who a kids dentist is and what they do. It’s a good idea to talk to your child ahead of time about what to expect, but don’t tell them so far in advance that they think about it too much and cause themselves undue stress over the visit. Stay positive and use it as a fun learning experience.

Is There an Experienced Pediatric Dentist Near Me?

Finding a local pediatric dentist that you feel good about is the best way to lay a strong foundation for positive experiences going forward. If you’re looking for the best children’s dentist Las Vegas has to offer, Absolute Dental has you covered. We also have Nevada locations in Reno, Carson City, and Sparks.

Our experienced care team and comprehensive services help keep your child’s smile healthy and your visits a success. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

pediatric dentist appointment



1Stanford Children’s Health. A Child’s First Dental Visit Fact Sheet. Retrieved 14 February 2022.

2American Dental Association (ADA). Your Baby’s First Dental Visit. Retrieved 14 February 2022.

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