How to Help Your Child Get Through Their First Dental Exam

How to Help Your Child Get Through Their First Dental Exam

You may be surprised to learn that experts recommend “first visit by first birthday” when it comes to your child seeing a dentist for the first time. There are lots of reasons for this recommendation, including the importance of preventive care, making sure there are no emerging issues, and helping your child get used to visiting the dentist.

What to expect

To help your child get through their first exam smoothly, you need to know what to expect. First, you should know that most of the time is spent talking. There’s a lot to talk about, including:

There may be an X-ray, so that our team can more fully understand your child’s oral health, and an exam. You may be asked to hold your child on your lap in the exam chair, or our team may ask you to sit in a chair facing him or her, in what’s called a knee-to-knee position. That’s where your child sits on your lap facing you and reclines so that their head is on the dentist’s lap so that we can easily see into your child’s mouth to perform the exam.

Knowing the reasons for an early dental visit and even knowing what to expect might not be enough to help your child get through it comfortably. If you’re worried about how your child might react, here are some tips on how to help keep your baby happy and cooperative.


There are a couple of aspects to preparing for your child’s first dental exam. There’s the paperwork side of things and then there’s the mental preparation.


You probably have some questions about how to best help your child develop good dental hygiene habits, nutrition, and other factors related to oral health. Write them down so that you have them to refer to easily when you’re in our office.

Take some time to review your dental insurance coverage before your visit. You may need to find out if you have a deductible or if you should expect a copay.

Bring a list of any medications your child takes, and be prepared to answer some questions about medical history during your appointment.

Mental preparation

In the weeks and days prior to your appointment, you may want to read books, watch videos, and talk about the dentist. Books and shows about the dentist can help your child feel more familiar and comfortable in our office.

Positivity matters

If you’re uncomfortable about going to the dentist, your child can pick up on those feelings. It’s important to portray the visit in a positive light, both before and during your child’s appointment. We work hard to help your child see a visit to our office as a good experience.

Since it’s recommended that your child see the dentist every six months for checkups, you and your child will become accustomed to our office and our team. When your child looks forward to these visits, your life will be much easier!

Answer all of your child’s questions

Children are naturally curious, and if your child has questions about what to expect in our office, or about anything in the office, it’s important to answer them as thoroughly as you can. You may want to add your child’s questions to your list for our team.

A dental office can seem intimidating. Your child may wonder about the exam chair or other equipment. Understanding what it’s all for can help.

Contact Cherry Family Dental today, by phone or online, to schedule your child’s first dental exam.

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