Give your child healthy teeth his first year!

When should your child first visit the dentist?

No child is too young for good oral health. Children should see the dentist when they are as young as 6 months old.  This is the ideal time for parents and caregivers to learn how to take care of their child’s teeth and gums, to encourage healthy feeding and eating habits, and learn how to prevent injury to the teeth. Medi-Cal covers dental visits for children as young as 6 months old.

When your child first visits the dentist, the dentist examines the child and conducts a risk assessment. Follow up appointments are based on this visit.  Fluoride treatment is applied and supplements are prescribed as needed. The dental team provides the parent or caregiver with information about oral development, teething and tooth eruption, and what to expect in the future.

When a child is introduced to dental care early in life, he or she feels more comfortable with the dentist and can get a head start on good oral health. Prevention is the key. Avoiding the need for complex procedures associated with pain and anxiety helps the child have a positive experience at the dentist that sets the tone for a lifetime. Too many children with untreated tooth decay end up needing more complicated, risky and expensive treatments.

Petaluma Health Center and Rohnert Park Health Center dentists have received professional training on how to care for infant teeth and gums and how to prevent or identify early oral health problems. Our dentists are ready to help.  Our clinic can be your child’s dental home, providing excellent dental care designed specifically for your child.

What’s the best way to prepare your child for a
stranger telling him or her to “open wide”?

  • Give your child a sneak preview. Take your child with you for your next checkup to see you having your teeth examined and cleaned.
  • Learn more about it. Lots of books and online resources are geared toward teaching children more about dental health and dentist visits.
  • Play around. Take turns being the dentist and the patient with your child. Examine each other’s teeth with a mirror or use your fingers to count each other’s teeth so that your child will be familiar with the feel of a dentist examination.
  • Timing is everything. Plan plenty of time so that the dental visit isn’t rushed, and make sure your child is well-rested before the visit so that he or she feels relaxed and comfortable.