News Releases

Baby's first dental visit

Feb 16, 2023

         WEST ALLIS, Wis. – You’ve reached the exciting milestone of your baby’s first words, maybe even their first steps, but when should you get ready for your baby’s first dental visit?

Baby dentist visit

         “We recommend that children have their first dental visit by their first birthday. It may seem early, but the age one visit is fun and informative. Our goal is to create a foundation for a lifetime of good oral health in children," said Dr. Laura Goodell, a pediatric dentist in Mequon. “Being proactive about your little one’s dental care is the key to keeping their smile healthy beyond their early years.”

       The Wisconsin Dental Association is giving tips to families on a child’s first dental visit:

  • Where should I take my child for their first dental visit? Find a general dentist who is comfortable treating children or a pediatric dentist in your area. One way to find a dentist is to check with your dental insurance carrier to see who is in network. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations, or your current dentist may have a recommendation. You can use the ADA’s Find-a-Dentist tool to find a dentist in your area.
  • What should I expect at my child’s first dental visit? For an infant visit, you’ll likely do a “lap to lap” exam where the child sits on the parent’s lap and leans their head onto the provider’s lap. The dentist will do a short clinical exam to look at the teeth for any decay. Then, your child’s teeth may be cleaned and you’ll receive tips for daily care. Most of the visit will involve caregiver education and talking with your child’s dentist on how to prevent decay. Topics such as growth and development, pacifier and thumb sucking, injury prevention, fluoride recommendations, brushing and flossing instructions, diet and snacking and more will be discussed.
  • How can I best prepare my child for their first visit? Start talking with your child about what’s going to happen at the visit and be positive. Have your child practice opening his or her mouth, and read books and watch videos about first dental visits to help your child be less fearful and more confident.
  • How can parents prepare for the visit? Make a list of questions that you may have. If your child is teething, sucking his or her thumb or using a pacifier too much, talk with the dentist and ask for guidance. To make the appointment go as smooth as possible, ask if you can fill out any necessary patient forms in advance.
  • Are there any other tips for our first visit? Be sure to schedule your child’s appointment during a time they are usually well-rested and cooperative. Make sure your child has had a light meal and brushes their teeth before the appointment so they won’t be hungry – save the snacks for after the visit! If your child cries a little or wiggles around during the exam, don’t worry! This is normal, and the dental team understands!

    For more information about your child’s oral health, please visit or Find a dentist near you by using ADA’s Find-a-Dentist tool.

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