Children’s Dentistry

Your Child’s First Visit To The Dentist

Your child’s first dental visit should be just after their first birthday. This visit is sometimes referred to as a “Peak & Play,” whereby the main objective is to make your child feel comfortable and evaluate the teeth and make sure that proper development is occurring without complication.  Dr. Harris encourages you to accompany your child; however, as your child becomes a little older and more independent, we ask that you wait in the reception area so that the dental hygienist can build a relationship between your child and your dentist.

We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums.  X-Rays are not usually taken until five-six years of age but are recommended individually if signs of decay or tooth development are in question.  We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against corrosion. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most importantly, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.

What Should I Tell My Child About The First Dental Visit?

We have been asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. But, so many children enjoy the “ride in the chair” and learning about “Mr. Thirsty” … your child’s reaction to their first visit to the dentist may surprise you.

Here Are Some First Visit Tips:

  •  Read books with them about going to the dentist
  • Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit (looking, cleaning, and counting teeth)
  • Speak positively about your own dental experiences
  • Avoid phrases like: “It won’t hurt” and “don’t worry.”

During Your Child’s First Visit, The Dentist Will:

  • Examine the mouth, teeth, and gums
  • Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking
  • Check to see if your child needs fluoride
  • Teach your child about cleaning their teeth and gums
  • Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits

What About Preventative Care?

We want to avoid childhood tooth decay and set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health at our office. That’s why we focus on the importance of all aspects of preventive care. These are just a few of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s healthy smile:

  • Routine check-ups
  • Sealants: thin plastic coatings that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. They are a fast, safe, and easy way of protecting children’s teeth and have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by up to 80%.
  • In-office fluoride application
  • At-home fluoride vitamins
  • Encourage oral hygiene education & cavity prevention techniques:
    • Limit sugar intake
    • Limit frequency of meals and snacks (make treats part of the meal end)
    • Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing regularly (most importantly before bed)
    •  Avoid giving your child sticky foods
    •   Choose nutritious snacks
    • Watch what your child drinks: Limit beverages other than water to mealtime only

Baby Bottle Syndrome: When a liquid that contains sugar (i.e., breast milk, formula, juice) is given at nap or bedtime, the sugar stays on the teeth, and the bacteria in the mouth turns the sugar into acid, which will corrode (decay) the teeth.   

The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities. The enamel is solid and able to handle a lifetime of drinking and eating; however, we encourage less chewing and sipping throughout the day to promote a less acidic environment that can lead to more frequent cavities.


Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.

Baby teeth are important as they hold space for permanent teeth, but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.



If you have any questions about your child’s oral health or are ready to make an appointment at our Brockton, MA office, please call us at 508-584-6070.