Boy learning how to brush teeth

Your Child’s First Visit to Smile Valley Pediatric Dentistry

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit by their first birthday. This might seem young, but kids can get cavities as soon as their first tooth erupts. Plus, not only will early visits allow our Spring Valley pediatric dentists to make sure your child’s teeth and gums are healthy and their development is on track, they also let your child get used to the sights and sounds of the dental office and develop a relationship with our team. When kids feel comfortable going to the dentist, it creates a foundation for lifelong oral health.

Preparing for Your Child’s First Dentist Visit

Before we dive into what happens at your child’s first dentist appointment, let’s talk about some ways you, as a parent or guardian, can help make the visit enjoyable and positive. Prior to the appointment:


Tell your child they’ll be visiting the dentist and that the tooth doctor wants to get to know them. Position this visit as an exciting experience for yourself and for your child.

Give your little one an idea of what they can expect. Tell them that Dr. Roya will “count,” “brush” and “take pictures” of his/her/their teeth. By explaining the exam and cleaning in these terms, your child will be able to better understand the situation.

Most importantly, be incredibly positive when discussing the dentist and avoid negative words like “hurt,” “drill,” “pull” and “shot.” Also, don’t use statements, such as, “the doctor will hurt you.” This initial examination is completely painless, doesn’t involve anything uncomfortable and should be perceived by your child as non-threatening. Our goal is to make the first appointment the most positive experience possible!
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Office Tour

What Happens at Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

Your child will receive a warm welcome and then a friendly team member will take them back to a treatment room. Of course, parents are always welcome to accompany their child. If your kiddo is old enough, they can hop right on up into the treatment chair. For infants, we may have them sit on your lap during the exam.

Once your child is settled in, Dr. Roya Pilcher will introduce themselves. She’ll then use the S.A.F.E. technique, which Dr. Roya developed, to put your kiddo at ease and engage them in the process. With the technique, the dentist will play a game (you can learn more about it here) where every step builds off the last and kids earn small prizes as they complete each step.

During the game, Dr. Roya will progress from introducing your child to the techniques and tools we’ll be using in kid-friendly terms, demonstrating how the tools work on their hand, briefly using the tools in their mouth and then, finally, completing the exam or “counting the teeth.”

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The primary goal of this visit is to develop a rapport with your child. A cleaning, fluoride and x-rays may or may not be done at this first visit depending on your child’s needs. At the end of the appointment, your Washington, DC kids’ dentist will spend time discussing important topics to help you take care of your child’s teeth, including diet, oral hygiene, fluoride and cavity prevention.

Happy Patients, Healthy Smiles

At our fun, bright pediatric dental office in Washington, DC, we treat all of our patients like VIPs. Let’s work together to give your child the healthy, beautiful smile they deserve. Schedule a visit at Smile Valley Pediatric Dentistry today!

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