First Visit

Baby with Toys

Develop a Positive Relationship

We recognize that every child is unique. The purpose of the first dental visit is to establish a positive relationship with your child and to evaluate your child’s dental health while laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. Ideally, the first dental visit takes place when your child gets eight teeth, around the age of one. At this appointment, the pediatric dentist and the dental staff get to know your child, thoroughly explain all of the procedures, and answer any questions you or your child may have. Along with a general examination and teeth cleaning, we will discuss brushing techniques, flossing, fluoride recommendations, and eating healthy snacks as beginning steps toward good dental hygiene.

Common Questions

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How to Prepare for Your Child's First Dental Visit

For parents, you will play a big part in making your child’s first dental visit to the dentist positive and enjoyable. We always encourage parents to inform your child of the visit and its purpose, but also to take care in how you present it. We recommend avoiding the use of words that can create fear such as “needle,” “pull,” “drill,” or “hurt.” Your child’s first dental visit will rarely require such things, and, even should they be necessary at some point, keep in mind that The dentist is a trained pediatric dentist and has been trained to convey the information in a non-threatening way, helping to keep your child calm and comfortable.

What Happens at Your Child's First Dental Exam?

During the examination, Dr. Abarca will examine your child's erupted teeth for cavities, the gums for infection, and the other mouth tissues for any abnormalities. He will evaluate the way your child’s teeth come together (the occlusion) and check for sufficient room for the permanent teeth to erupt. He will also evaluate the effects of any childhood habits such as thumb sucking, use of a pacifier, or prolonged use of a baby bottle. At the end of the visit, Dr. Abarca will discuss all of his findings, and a necessary treatment plan, and any dental issues pertinent to protecting the well-being of your child’s oral health.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist takes two additional years of specialized training that focuses on children. This gives pediatric dentists the skills they need to build strong and trusting relationships with children from infants to young adults and an understanding of their unique dental health needs.

When Should My Child Have his/her First Dental Visit?


Your child should visit the dentist by his or her first birthday. Be sure to inform your child of the visit and its purpose, but take care in how you present it. Avoid using words that cause fear such as “needle”, “pull”, “drill”, or “hurt.” The first visit rarely requires such things, and, even should they be necessary at some point, keep in mind that pediatric dentists are trained to convey the information in a non-threatening way, helping to keep your child calm and comfortable.

Are Primary Teeth Important?

Healthy primary teeth are important for many reasons:
 

  • They facilitate proper chewing, enabling good nutrition. Research shows that children with numerous cavities are often underweight because eating begins to hurt. As a result, they limit food choices, disrupting proper nutrition.

  • We are often asked, “Why put fillings in baby teeth when they will fall out anyway?” Unfortunately, neglected cavities create problems that affect the development of permanent teeth. Neglected cavities progress to the core of the tooth and eat away at the nerve. The tooth becomes painful and the nerve becomes inflamed, eventually dying. This creates an abscess that often results in the loss of the tooth and serious damage to the permanent tooth growing below. Some severe cases require emergency hospitalization.

  • Children learn to talk using their primary dentition. Research shows that, because most speech skills are already formed by the age of seven, children who lose their primary front teeth too early often need speech therapy.

  • Brown or missing teeth often affect the development of self-esteem. A beautiful smile enhances self confidence regardless of age.
     

When Should My Child Have his/her First Dental Visit?


Your child should visit the dentist by his or her first birthday. Be sure to inform your child of the visit and its purpose, but take care in how you present it. Avoid using words that cause fear such as “needle”, “pull”, “drill”, or “hurt.” The first visit rarely requires such things, and, even should they be necessary at some point, keep in mind that pediatric dentists are trained to convey the information in a non-threatening way, helping to keep your child calm and comfortable.