5 Must-Haves At Your Child’s First Dentist Visit

The American Dental Association recommends that you take your child to the dentist by 12-months (provided your baby has teeth erupting). Now you're headed out the dentist for the first time with your young child, and aren't entirely sure what to bring along. What should you take with you to make the visit run as smoothly as possible?

Your child's insurance card/information.

Does your child have the same dental insurance as you? What about the same card? Make sure that you bring along the card or policy information that is unique to your child. This may be (depending on your policy and coverage) different than your own card/information.

The pediatrician's information.

It's likely that the dentist will ask for your child's pediatrician's name, number and address. Sure, you could quickly google it as you sit in the waiting room. But, having the information in your hand will make the trip that much easier.

A list of medications.

If your child is on any medications, the dentist needs to know beforehand. Bring along a written or typed list to hand over before the visit starts.

Your questions.

Even if you already know that you should brush your child's teeth two times a day, you might still have questions about how else to care for your child's teeth. Sit down and write out a list of questions that are specific to your child/child's age. These might include:

  • Is juice (or sugary drinks) safe in a sippy cup?
  • What kind of toothpaste should children use (is it necessary to buy 'baby' or 'kids' toothpastes)?
  • What kind of toothbrush should children use?
  • What can a child do in terms of self-dental care based on age/developmental level?
  • What about flossing? Do young children need to do it?
  • How often should children visit the dentist?
  • Should children have fluoride treatments?

Some form of entertainment.

You walk into the office and are whisked away to the exam room immediately – right? Not always. Bring along a coloring book, a picture book or even your tablet (with a child-friendly app or game loaded) to keep your child busy during the wait. If you've got an infant or younger toddler, bring along a few favorite hand toys (such as a rattle, shaker or squishy stuffed animal) to keep busy.

The first trip to the dentist is a major milestone in your child's life. Along with the information and entertainment items that you plan on bringing along, don't forget the camera! Why? A simple snap of your smart phone's camera can capture the visit that is part of a long list of your child's 'firsts'.