What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Checkup

Dental Checkup Santa Ana, CA

It is vital for parents to take proper care of their child’s teeth, and this includes scheduling their first dental checkup. Many dental professionals recommend making this appointment within six months of the first tooth’s eruption and ideally before the child’s first birthday. However, if a parent does wait past their first birthday, this guide is still applicable.

A guide to a child’s dental checkup 

In order to keep the initial checkup a positive experience for everyone, parents should take a few steps to get ready for the occasion. The following guide can help parents and children prepare for the first visit and learn what to expect during the examination.

Finding a family dentist 

Before scheduling an appointment, parents should first spend a little time researching various family dentists to find one that is a proper fit. This includes reading reviews from other patients and taking office tours. Visiting the office can help give children a sense of familiarity with the surroundings before the appointment. Some dental offices have special playrooms with toys, games, and books to help kids relax before a checkup.

Preparing for the appointment 

Prior to the first dental visit, parents should try to prepare their children for the appointment. When scheduling a visit, it is helpful to plan the checkup for a time when the child will be more alert. Avoiding an appointment during usual nap times can result in an easier and happier visit. Parents may bring the child’s favorite toy to the checkup so they can feel comforted as well as focused on a pleasant distraction. Before the examination takes place, talking with children about the dentist in a positive manner can help them feel at ease. Parents can read fun books about dentistry to children or play a game that acts out a dentist visit to show that there is no reason to be fearful.

Enjoying the visit

A child’s first dental checkup is typically short. The dentist works on building a friendly rapport with the child to relieve any anxiety and keep them calm. During the exam, the dentist carefully checks the child’s teeth for signs of decay and may do a gentle cleaning. In addition, the dentist examines the gums and bite to look for early signs of potential issues. 

After the exam is complete, the dentist usually sits down with the parents to discuss the child’s appointment and answer any questions. The practitioner will talk about important oral health issues during the child’s development, such as implementing healthy dental hygiene habits to prevent cavities, using fluoride to protect teeth, eating a nutritious diet, and scheduling regular dental checkups. Certain oral health habits, such as thumb sucking and pacifier use, may also be discussed.


It is important for parents to schedule a dental checkup as soon as possible after a child’s first tooth appears. With proper preparations, parents can help children feel more comfortable with dental visits and make the first appointment easier. Getting an early start on dental care helps children maintain necessary oral health habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Request an appointment here: https://www.brightsmilesantaana.com or call Bright Smile Dental at (714) 361-9308 for an appointment in our Santa Ana office.

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