Dental exams are important for everyone, but they’re especially vital for children. Besides keeping your child’s teeth clean and healthy, these exams help set life-long habits. Knowing when your child’s first exam is can help you prepare them for meeting their dentist

Your child’s first dental exam happens sooner than you may think. You can expect to book your child’s first appointment within 12 months of their birth. 

When Should Your Child Have Their First Dental Visit?

Your child’s first dental visit should happen within 6 months of their first tooth eruption or by their first birthday. They should have regular exams every 6 months after their first visit. Your dentist has several goals during the exam, such as:

  • Identifying dental problems and addressing them as soon as possible
  • Evaluating how at-home cleaning is going
  • Teaching your child about the importance of regular dental visits 

How Can You Prepare Your Child for Their Visit? 

The dentist can be intimidating when you’re a child, but getting your child used to regular visits from a young age can set healthy habits for the future, protecting their dental health. You can help ease your child’s dental anxiety, making their appointment a better experience: 

  • Make the dentist fun: Keep the appointment fun by bringing your child’s favourite toy or stuffed animal to play with in the waiting room. 
  • Explain what will happen: Tell your child what they can expect at the dentist. You can always find a show or video about the dentist to help explain.

What Happens During Their Appointment? 

Your child’s first dental exam is a check-up to evaluate their health. You’ll be with your child for their first dental check-up, holding them if they’re nervous or sitting nearby. 

Your dentist will examine your child’s jaw, teeth, and gums to ensure they develop correctly. Additionally, they’ll look for signs of cavities or other dental problems. Your dentist will explain their findings and identify any problems.

The other part of your child’s exam is their dental cleaning. Typically, a dental hygienist performs this cleaning. They’ll clean your child’s teeth and explain the importance of proper dental hygiene. 

What to Expect as Your Child Grows

Your child’s first dental exam is a general check-up, but their appointments will become more intense with time. Your dentist will examine several aspects of your child’s dental health to identify problems as early as possible. 

As your child grows, your dentist will assess several aspects of their oral health, looking for:

  • Damaged or decaying teeth
  • Gum health
  • The condition of fillings
  • Early signs of tooth decay
  • Signs of clenching or grinding
  • The state of baby teeth
  • The overall health of their teeth, mouth, & gums

Dental insurance form placed on a blue table with a tooth-shaped paper weight, a pair of glasses and a calculator in view.

Know About Financing Options: Canada’s Dental Benefit

To help lower dental costs for Canadians, the Canada Dental Benefit is available for families making less than $90,000 a year. You can apply for this benefit if your child is under 12 and lacks access to private dental insurance. 

You have a $260, $390, or $650 tax-free payment for each child based on your adjusted net income for the entire family. You can learn more about this program by visiting the Government of Canada’s website

How Can You Apply?

If you’re eligible for this benefit, the current application period is October 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. 

You can apply through your CRA My Account, online, or by phone. There are 3 steps to follow: 

  • Prepare your information: Secure your child’s dental care provider’s name, address, and phone number. Additionally, you’ll need the date of your child’s appointment. If applicable, you may need your or your spouse’s employer’s name, address, and phone number.
  • Apply to the CRA: Apply using either method, either online or by phone. You can sign in through your My Service Canada Account (MSCA) if you don’t have a CRA My Account.
  • Keep your receipts safe: Save any receipts from your dentist for 6 years. The CRA may need to determine your eligibility. 

You may need to validate your benefit application within 30 days of applying. If this happens, you’ll be contacted to complete this verification. 

Care for Your Child’s Dental Health

Regular dental exams are vital for your child’s health, especially as they grow. Ensure you’re scheduling a dental visit approximately every 6 months. Your dentist is here to care for your family’s dental health.

Contact One Family Dental when it’s time for your child’s next dental exam.