Tips for seeing the dentist for the first time


Dentistry isn’t just about teeth, it’s about gums, lips, and inside of the mouth. It’s time for a dental visit when your baby’s first tooth becomes visible or when they reach 12 months old – whichever comes first.

Prevention is better than a cure and early dental visits will help protect your child from tooth decay. Your little one might fuss during their dental visit. Don’t worry, this is completely normal, and the dental team is trained to make sure your baby is as comfortable as possible during their exam. As a parent, it is your responsibility to use the first dental visit to become well informed about your child’s oral health.

Your first visit at the dentist

Your dentist will take a full medical history and look at factors such as your child’s overall health and development. Although at your first dental visit your child may not have many teeth, your dentist should take the opportunity to discuss:

  • Teething
  • Brushing techniques
  • Bite (how your child’s teeth will come together)
  • Soft tissues such as gums and cheeks
  • Habits such as thumb sucking or snoring
  • Risk of decay and how to prevent it
  • Prevention of trauma to your child’s mouth
  • Nutritional advice
  • Recommendations for dental products

Preparing for future dental visits

  • It’s important when talking about the dentist that you use positive and child-friendly terms like, “seeing the tooth fairy’s friend” or “going for a ride in the dental chair”
  • Don’t use the dentist as a deterrent like, “if you don’t brush your teeth the dentist will pull them out”
  • In the lead up to the first dental visit, you could ‘play dentist’ at home and count your child’s teeth and explain that the dentist takes care of our teeth. Children’s books that explain visiting the dentist are also available
  • Don’t bribe your child
  • Don’t be anxious yourself
  • Don’t tell your child that it will or won’t hurt; let the dentist explain to your child how the appointment will go

Related Articles
Fluoride and tooth decay: Here’s what you need to know
The importance of teaching hygiene to kids
Caring for your baby’s teeth

Sign up Image Heart

Don't miss a thing!

Stay in the loop on all things parenthood as we share tips, hacks, products, inspo & everything in between. We promise not to clutter your inbox.