What Your Child Can Expect When Seeing the Dentist

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends every child have their first dental visit by the time they reach their first birthday. Starting regular dental care at a young age helps the dentist spot potential problems early on, and it helps parents and kids learn the routines and habits that can provide a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles.

Despite the ADA recommendation, many kids are still reluctant to visit the dentist, especially if they don’t begin regular care until they’re older or they don’t really remember their earlier visits. 

At Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center, Marvin Taylor, DDS, and our team provide compassionate, customized pediatric dental care, helping young patients in Waterford, Michigan, relax and even enjoy their visits. 

As a parent, you can help eliminate dental anxiety. Staying positive is one important way to stop fear in its tracks. Helping your child understand what to expect during their visit is important, too. Here’s what happens during a routine dental visit at our office.

Visual exam

Your child’s visit begins with a visual examination of their teeth and gums to look for any obvious problems. 

After the visual exam, we may use a special tool to check each tooth for signs of decay. Sometimes, we perform this part of the exam after X-rays are taken.

Teeth cleaning

Next, your child will have their teeth cleaned using special tools and toothpaste designed to gently polish the tooth surface. 

Cleaning is important for getting rid of sticky plaque and hard tartar deposits that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Plus, we can provide your child with some simple tips to make brushing and flossing easier and more effective.


While the visual and hands-on exams provide a lot of information about the gums and the tooth surfaces, X-rays are important for showing us what’s happening inside the tooth and below the gums. 

Each X-ray takes just a few seconds and is completely painless. A series of X-rays shows all the teeth and jaw structures, and we can compare X-rays from one visit to the next to keep track of how your child’s teeth and jaw are developing.

Dental sealants

Dental sealants provide a clear, tough covering for the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth. The sealant is a liquid that hardens once it’s applied. 

Sealants help prevent food particles and bacteria from getting inside the tooth through tiny — even microscopic — openings. Like X-rays, the sealant process is completely painless. 

Fluoride treatments

Fluoride plays a really important role in strengthening teeth to help prevent cavities. When applied to your child’s teeth, fluoride helps teeth remineralize, keeping the hard enamel shell strong. 

While using a fluoride toothpaste every day is also important, professional fluoride treatments use special solutions designed to penetrate deeply for long-lasting benefits. 

Fluoride applications are completely pain free.


If your child has a cavity, having it filled as soon as possible is important for preventing it from getting worse — and, of course, for preventing or eliminating painful symptoms. 

Prior to a filling, your child receives a local anesthetic to numb their gum tissue. We also offer sedation options, including nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) to calm anxiety prior to a filling or other treatment.

Question time

At the end of the visit, we discuss the results of the exam and you and your child will have plenty of time to ask questions. This is a great time to ask about brushing, tooth-healthy foods, and other habits that could have an impact on your child’s oral health.

In addition to tailoring care to the unique needs of young patients, our waiting room is stocked with a play castle, a make-a-wish fountain, and plenty of videos to help kids relax. 

To schedule your child’s dental visit — and set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums — call the office or use our online form to request an appointment today.

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