Your child’s first dental visit

When should my child first see a dentist, and why?

Close-up of little boy opening his mouth during dental checkup

We recommend to see your child at their first birthday or six months after the first tooth appears. Of course, if there are any issues such as tooth decay or pain, please make an appointment with our office. This is an ideal time for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child’s mouth. Because dental problems often start early, the sooner the visit the better. To safeguard against problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations, gum disease, and prolonged thumb-sucking, the dentist can provide or recommend special preventive care.

How do I prepare my child and myself for the visit?

Before the visit, our office staff will be happy to discuss the procedures of the first appointment so there are no surprises. Our goal on the first visit is to establish a warm connection with your child and to help relieve any fears your child may have. This first visit is often referred to as HAPPY VISIT. We understand that your child may be anxious and our experienced staff will help your child every step of the way. Talk to your child in a positive way about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit.

What will happen on the first visit?
For very young children, often our first visit is an introductory ice-breakers to acquaint your child with Dr. Mc Kinley and her staff. We have found that our calm, warm and fun environment is the key to a successful first visit. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in Dr. Mc Kinley and her staff and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem. Appointments for children should always be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and fresh. For children under 2 years of age the parent may have to sit in the dental chair and hold the child during the examination. We recommend parents wait in the reception area so a relationship can be built between your child and our staff. For a first visit, children must be accompanied by their legal guardian.