Accessible Version
SW Nebraska Dental Center
A Great Dentist

Let’s Talk About Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

April 10, 2019
Posted By: Kaitlin Haag

One of the questions I’m frequently asked is, “When do I need to take my child to the dentist for their first visit?” 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that a child be brought to the dentist when their first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday, whatever comes first. If you missed this deadline, please don’t worry. We welcome your visit at any age. We also welcome children of all ages who are new to the McCook area!

Plan In Advance

With young children, a doctor’s visit can be an undertaking. I speak from experience. My first piece of advice is to plan in advance. Start by looking for a dentist with experience with children. Also, ask parents in your kid's activities who they go to and get reviews, they most likely know the providers that are the best with children.

Choose the time of day that is best for your child.  We recommend not bringing them in during their regular nap time or when they first wake up to help them be in the best mood possible.  Also, talk to your child ahead of time about what we will be doing and be sure to not use words that will cause fear.  Here is a list of words to use and not to use:

Words WE WON’T USE Because They Often Cause Fear & Anxiety

Words We Use Instead to Comfort Kids and Encourage a Positive Experience

needle or shot

Sleepy juice


tooth washer

drill on a tooth

washing a tooth

pull or yank a tooth

wiggle a tooth

decay, cavity

Cavity bug or germs


count teeth

tooth cleaning

tickle the teeth

explorer (tool)

tooth counter

rubber dam (tool)

rain coat

rubber dam clamp (tool)

tooth ring

nitrous oxide (anesthetic)

happy air

mouth prop (tool)

tooth pillow

dental filling

silver or white star

Another way to streamline your visit is to fill out forms in advance. At our office, we will send you an email with a link, and you can fill it out on your phone or computer at home, whatever is more convenient for you. Or visit: And if you don’t have a chance before you come in, don’t worry, we can do it here too.

Appointment Time

So now you’re ready to go in for their appointment time! What do you need to think about? For young children, I recommend setting the appointment early in the day and planning around nap time and meal time.  During the first visit, you may hold the baby in your lap while Dr. Haag examines his or her mouth.  After the examination, Dr. Haag will give you directions on caring for your baby’s teeth, discuss your baby’s risk for developing tooth decay, and answer any questions you might have.

If you have other children, it can be very helpful to bring another adult to help so you can fully engage with the dentist. 

Questions To Ask The Dentist

Below is a list of common questions I get, and questions that you may want to ask during your dental visits:

  • Is the toothbrush I’m using okay?
  • Should my child be using fluoride? Fluoride toothpaste? Supplements?
  • What are some healthy snacks to keep my child cavity free?
  • How do I reach the dentist for an after-hours emergency?
  • What should I do about habits like finger sucking or using a pacifier?
  • Are the teeth coming in properly? And at the right time?
  • Does my child have a tongue or lip tie?

We cannot wait to see you and your child(ren) and hope that this information will help you to feel empowered and have a wonderful experience. Call us any time! 

If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (308) 345-2273
View the ADA Accessibility Statement
We moved to our new location!  Our new address is 2009 West J street!