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 exam. 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 your dentist.

During the exam, your dentist will check all of your child's existingteeth for decay, examine your child's bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, and oral tissues. If indicated, the dentist or hygienist 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:

Good oral hygiene practices for your child's teeth and gums and cavity prevention
Fluoride needs
Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking)
Developmental milestones
Proper nutritio

Importance of Childhood Oral Hygiene & the Role of Parents

Parents have a key role in helping their children to develop a proper oral hygiene routine in the first years of their life. Parents should lead and supervise their children’s toothbrushing approximately for the first 12 years, until motor and mental functions allow the child to routinely perform a proper toothbrushing technique alone. After brushing the teeth for their children for the first 2 years of life, parents will have to use playful motivation to encourage their children to brush their own teeth from about 3 years onwards – the time when children want to brush their teeth alone. Each time the child has finished brushing, parents should re-brush the hard-to-clean areas. At the age of around 6 years, children are able to brush their teeth using a proper brushing technique. In this phase, parents have to continue supervising the regular brushing efforts of their children. The special anatomical situation of changing dentition makes it indispensable that parents still need to help their children in the daily toothbrushing task until eruption of the second molar (around the age of 12).

Parents must prevent your children from common bad habits such as the use of the pacifier, thumb sucking, add sugar to the milk and feeding the babies before going to sleep all these bad habits leads to mischief teeth 

Flossing is only necessary once your child has two teeth that touch. This usually first occurs with the last two molars

(around age 2). To tell whether your child needs to floss, try this simple test: If you can't see a space or see the gums between a pair of teeth, slide a piece of floss between them. If it sticks a little you know the teeth are touching and it's time to floss.

At first you'll need to help your child, since she won't have the dexterity to floss on her own. As a general rule, when your child can start to learn cursive (around second or third grade), she's skilled enough to floss solo. Some children are ready to go it alone sooner, but you should supervise at first to be sure they can reach their back teeth and are doing a thorough enough job to take over this important responsibility. Flossing gets rid of bacteria and plaque buildup that can lead to inflammation and gum disease over time.

Ultimately, there isn’t one answer that will cover every child.  Each child is different.  Of the three pediatric dentistry textbooks I read while researching for this article, I found that two of them glossed over this question, which demonstrated to me that it is a difficult question to answer.  The textbook Dentistry for the Adolescent and Child by McDonald & Avery was the only one that alluded to an age when kids can brush their own teeth.


If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his or her mouth with warm water and inspect the teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. If pain continues, use a cold compress to ease the pain. Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children's pain relievers may be taken orally. Schedule an appointment immediately.

Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth

If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of a tooth, rinse his or her mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call us immediately.