First Dental Visit

Educational and Informative

At the office of Brent J. Porter, your Santa Cruz Pediatric Dentist, we take pride in providing the children of this county with the best quality dental experience! We strive to provide chairside educational support to promote good oral health for your child today and for years to come.

When do I schedule my child’s first dental visit?

Protect your child's first tooth by starting dental checkups early. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that the first dental visit should occur within six months after the baby's first tooth appears, but no later than the child's first birthday.

What to Expect

The first visit to our office will include a thorough medical and dental history and a complete oral exam. In addition, an age-appropriate tooth brushing demonstration and cleaning is recommended. This gives you, as a parent, and your child a significant preventative advantage. This first visit also allows Dr. Porter to provide early diagnostic, preventative and therapeutic options, as well as, an ongoing risk assessment at recommended 6-month intervals. Dr. Porter can give you vital information about the following:

Having this early check-up connects your child to a dental home. This helps Dr. Porter get to know your child and their special needs so he can provide the best care from year to year. Remember, this is a relationship that will last decades!


  • Your completed patient information forms
  • Your insurance card

Examining the Teeth

The best way for us to examine a young patient’s mouth (12 to 24 months), is by using a small padded “surfboard,” along with parental assistance. Your child will lean back while seated in your lap. This allows for you and Dr. Porter to have a clear view of your child’s mouth. Dr. Porter will wear very silly glasses with a head light ready to shine on those tough-to-see areas. If decay is found, treatment options will be discussed.

For toddlers (2 to 3 years old), sitting on your lap in the dental chair is a great way to introduce them to the routine dental visits. You and your child can have a ride up and down in the chair while they are safely in your arms.

By the time your child is 4 to 5 years old, they usually feel comfortable and confident enough to sit in the dental chair with mom or dad in the room.

Get Ready!

To get your child ready for their first visit, talk to him or her about what’s going to happen and most importantly… be positive! It might be fun to have your child practice opening his or her mouth. Let them know that the dentist wants to count their teeth and see how shiny they are. It might be helpful to read books or watch videos about first dental visits. This may help your child be less fearful and more confident when coming to our office.

Your child may cry a little or wiggle during the exam. It’s normal, and Dr. Porter’s team understands this is a new experience for your child!

Tips for a Great Visit

  • Baby bottle tooth decay
  • Infant feeding practices
  • Keeping those new teeth clean
  • Discuss fluoride supplements
  • Teething solutions
  • Pacifier habits
  • Finger-sucking habits
  • Dietary discussions
    • Schedule a time when your child is usually well-rested and cooperative. Morning visits for our younger patients are usually preferred. Do not schedule an appointment during their regular naptime.
    • Make sure your child has had a light meal, so they will not be hungry during their visit.
    • Have your child brush and floss their teeth with your assistance before their appointment.
    • Do not bring snacks to the visit. Save them for after the appointment so they are not on your child’s teeth during the exam.
    • If your child becomes upset during the visit, please guide Dr. Porter in trying to obtain as through an examination as possible. Remember you are on the same team! Thank you for the teamwork and help as a parent!

For more information please contact the office of Brent J. Porter D.D.S., Santa Cruz Children’s Dentist (831) 459-9802