A Child's First Dental Visit

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that a child's first dental visit occurs 6 months after the appearance of their first tooth, or by age one.


The goal is to have your child visit the dentist before there is a problem with his or her teeth. In most cases, a dental exam every six months will let your child's dentist catch small problems early.

Reasons to take your child to the dentist early:

  • Get tips on home care:

    • Brushing and flossing

    • Fluoride

    • Diet and snacking habits

  • Catch problems early on

  • Familiarize your child with the dental environment


Depending on the age and development of your child’s dentition, x-rays may be taken to:

  • Visualize in between tight teeth

  • Show the number and location of permanent teeth

  • Diagnose caries or infections

What happens at the first dental visit?

The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. This visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way.


Some dentists may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.


During the examination, the dentist will check all of your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine your child’s bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, and oral tissues. If indicated, the dentist will clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride. He or she will also educate parents about oral health care basics for children and discuss dental developmental issues and answer any questions.

Topics your dentist may discuss with you might include:


  1. Good oral hygiene practices for your child's teeth and gums and cavity prevention

  2. Fluoride needs

  3. Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking)

  4. Developmental milestones

  5. Teething

  6. Proper nutrition

  7. Schedule of dental checkups. Many dentists like to see children every 6 months to build up the child's comfort and confidence level in visiting the dentist, to monitor the development of the teeth, and promptly treat any developing problems.

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