First Dental Visit When?!?

When do you take your child to the dentist for the first time?  Many parents assume regular dental visits should start around kindergarten age.  But is is actually recommended that your child first see a dentist at the age of one.

Why so young?  There are three main reasons:

1. Parents can be educated early about what to expect and how to care for their child’s teeth.

2. To check for early signs of tooth decay.  (Much easier to prevent than to repair.)

3. To establish a loving and comfortable relationship between your child and her dentist.  (It can be done!!!)

What should you expect for this exciting first-time visit?  At Warner Pediatric Dental, you and your child will be greeted by our friendly, kid-loving staff; we are especially excited to see little babies!

We spend the first part of the visit discussing any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s oral health.  We’ll also give you some tips about how to care for those brand new baby teeth!  We can talk to you about pacifier use, thumb sucking, use of bottles or sippy cups, and what types of foods are good and bad for teeth.  We will demonstrate some effective and extremely helpful methods for brushing an uncooperative child’s teeth.  (Most children are uncooperative when it comes to having their teeth brushed!)  Once you’ve had all your questions answered, we will do an exam and cleaning for your child.  

Exams are usually done one of two ways.  If your child is cooperative, we will simply have her lay on the dental chair while we clean her teeth, and check for cavities or abnormalities like missing teeth.  Then we place a small amount of fluoride varnish on to help strengthen the teeth.  If your child is too scared to lay down in the chair, we do what is referred to as a lap to lap exam.  Your child sits on your lap, then we lean her back onto the Doctors lap and do the same procedure.  Many children feel anxious or cry during this first exam.  We’ve found it helps to show them the tools we’re using first, and then use a little distraction by talking about favorite toys and movies.  And Dr. Warner almost always ends up singing a little song to entertain them.

Our goal at Warner Pediatric Dental is three-fold:  prevent dental disease, educate parents, and teach children to look forward to visiting the dentist.  They will visit the dentist many times in their lives and we want it to be a positive experience every time!  We look forward to seeing you and partnering with you to keep your child’s teeth happy and healthy for a life time.

Warner Pediatric, 1443 Encinitas Blvd. Encinitas, CA 92024, 760-942-1570.

About the author

The Parent Connection is a non-profit parenting support group sponsored by Scripps Health. Since 1980, The Parent Connection has been bringing San Diego families together to provide support, share experiences and information, enjoy social activities and build lasting relationships. Parent Connection annual special events are a great way to socialize with other members. And our membership benefits include group discounts to California theme parks and attractions, which more than cover the cost of annual membership. Join now!


  1. Oh wow, that young? Though it makes a lot of sense and it can help out, especially first time parents, on what to expect with their growing child’s dental care.

  2. Melissa says:

    Growing up, I completely had a fear of the dentist because my first time, I was six
    and had not one, but two teeth pulled unbeknownst to me!

    I have already found a dentist for my baby (due 12/11/14) who is WONDERFUL and explained to me his philosophy about how he works with his child patients. The first few visits are soley for getting used to what’s at the dentist office.

    It’s so great!

  3. So when I take my 5 year old to the dentist, we call him our friend and buddy. This way he sees the dentist as more than a thing or place called the dentist. But, actually let him understand that the dentist is our special friend that likes our teeth looking and feeling good. Also, for our selves.

    So we brush and floss weekly. I try to at least brush his teeth 3-5 times a week. It actually helps motivate myself to brushing and flossing more too. So I agree, the dentist is so important to parents for their kids. Thanks for read.

  4. I think that it is important to start taking care of your child’s teeth as soon as they start coming in. By teaching your kids how to take care of their teeth at a young age you can help them develop good habits. This can really help prevent them from having a lot of oral issues in their future. I would suggest taking them into visit the dentist as early as possible.

  5. I always thought by age two, but seems like a good idea to go even earlier, thanks for the great article!


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