What To Expect When Taking Your Child To The Dentist For The First Time

Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be an exciting, and often anxiety-inducing, experience for all parents. Whether you are a new parent or a seasoned one, taking a child to the dentist for the first time brings different emotions to the surface. The good news is you’re not alone in your concerns. Here is what to expect when taking your child to the dentist for the first time. 

Initial appointment

Your first appointment with a pediatric dentist is more of a comfort call than an entire visit. You will set up your child’s new patient record and wait for their name to be called. The dentist will meet with your child, and may perform a visual assessment. 

After the visual assessment, your dentist will show them some of the tools they use and explain what they do. Depending on your child’s comfort level, the dentist may use some tools to do a more thorough check-up. After this portion of the visit is completed, your child is often sent home with a congratulatory bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other dental-friendly items.

Follow-up appointment

The follow-up appointment will be a more in-depth process. The dentist will be doing more than a standard visual assessment, and your child may get their first teeth cleaning. Depending on the route your dentist wants to go, the details of your follow-up appointment can vary. 

The most common follow-up we fulfill is a tooth cleaning. This will help eliminate any excess plaque, while helping prevent cavities. It is also an easy first step when getting your child more comfortable with the dentist. 

The second-most common type of follow-up appointment is an initial check-up, followed by possibly some dental work. If your child has any cavities, the dentist might try to fix them before they become an issue. This will help to optimize your child’s overall oral hygiene. 


A child dentist will create a visual schedule of how their appointments are structured. This gives children of all ages an easy-to-follow visual map of the appointment. Normally, the visit is visualized on a whiteboard or sheet of paper, where the dentist can cross off items as the appointment is completed.

Dental Anxiety

It is common for children to experience some form of dental-induced anxiety. Much like the doctor’s office, the dentist can be an uncomfortable experience. Having a stranger poke and prod your mouth with metal tools is never a kid’s ideal way to spend their afternoon. 

This is why it is important to choose a dentist that specializes in caring for new patients. All dentists should ensure that they do what they can to alleviate any form of dental anxiety that a patient may be feeling. Your child’s initial appointment is the most crucial step in the process, but all the following appointments need to be prepped for as well.

The right time for a pediatric dental visit

Many parents ask us, “when should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?” and the answer is almost always 6 months after they start showing their teeth. This normally occurs around the 12-month mark, or a little later. This type of appointment is different than what children will see when they go to the dentist as a toddler or around the age of 5 or 6. It will mostly be a visual assessment for the dentist to ensure your baby’s oral health is at a comfortable level.

At Go Kids Dental & Orthodontics, we specialize in helping new patients with all of their first-time dental needs. If you are looking for a first-time appointment for your child, please feel free to give us a call at 702-852-1444 or book an appointment with us today.