Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment – What To Expect

Did you know that kids are supposed to start seeing the dentist as soon as they turn 1 year old, or whenever their first tooth erupts? 

This may seem early, but these are the current recommendations of the American Academy for Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). By seeing a dentist routinely from a very young age, you can help your child get more familiar with your family dentist, prevent common oral health issues, and learn more about how their mouth will develop and grow over the years.

But what happens at your child’s first dentist appointment? Find out in this blog from Coronado Dental Associates now, and know what to expect.

Lap Exams (1-3 Years Old) 

If you have a very young child who does not yet have all of their baby teeth, your toddler will likely get a lap exam at Coronado Dental Associates. As the name implies, you’ll hold your child in your lap during this appointment. This helps keep them feeling safe and comfortable.

Then, Dr. Villalobos or Dr. Meadows will come into the room, gently clean any erupted teeth and your child’s gums, and perform a routine oral exam to look for signs of any tooth decay or other oral health issues. X-rays are not usually needed for kids this young. 

After the exam is done, you can ask any questions you may have about your child’s oral development, and how to care for your child’s teeth properly at home. Then, you and your little one will schedule your next six-month appointment and go home. 

Standard Dental Exams For Older Kids (3 Years Or Older)

Kids who are 3+ years old or who have all of their baby teeth will get a standard teeth cleaning and oral exam, just like an adult would. They will sit in the dentist’s chair, and one of our dental hygienists will scrape, buff, floss, and examine their teeth. Then, Dr. Meadows or Dr. Villalobos will come into the room to conduct a comprehensive oral exam.

At this time, x-rays may be recommended to look for hidden oral health issues, but we will only take x-rays of your child with your approval and consent. We will only recommend x-rays for kids if we think they are truly necessary. 

How Can I Prepare My Child For Their First Dental Visit?

There are a few simple steps you can take to make your child feel more comfortable before their first preventive dental visit, such as:

  1. Go in the morning – Seeing the dentist when your child is well-rested means they’re less likely to be cranky, irritable, and upset, so try to schedule a morning exam, if possible.

  2. Be as positive as you can – Kids can sense if you’re nervous or anxious, and they’ll feed off of those feelings. So do your best to maintain a positive attitude before, during, and after their first dental visit.

  3. Teach your kids a bit about dentistry – Kids who are 2-3 years old or older may enjoy learning a bit more about dental care through YouTube videos, children’s books, and more. If they know what will happen at their appointment and why it’s important, they may be less likely to fuss! 

Schedule Your Little One’s First Appointment In Coronado Today! 

At Coronado Dental Associates, Dr. Melanie Villalobos and Dr. Margaret Meadows offer expert dental care for kids of all ages. If you’re ready to take your child to the dentist for the first time, we’re here to help. Contact us online or give us a call at (619) 435-0844 to get started.

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