Your Child's First Visit

Dental care should start as early as possible in a child’s life

At Must Love Kids® Pediatric Dentistry, Vancouver Washington kids dentists Drs. Monisha and Prashant Gagneja believe that dental care should start as early as possible in a child’s life to ensure optimal dental health. We are excited to welcome your family into Must Love Kids® (MLK) as we embark on the lifelong adventure of good dental health!

When should I first bring my child to the dentist?

Your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur by age 1, or within 6 months of the first tooth eruption or earlier if you have specific concerns. This visit will allow you to introduce your child to our dental office in a friendly and easy-going manner. We want you and your child to become comfortable here, so if treatment is needed, we can make your child’s first experience a positive one.

Though most children do better without the parent in the room, some kids need the extra assurance of having a parent with them through the appointment. It is very important for the dentist to establish direct communication with your child, having a parent especially during a dental treatment procedure can sometimes be a hindrance in establishing good rapport with the child and can also be distracting for the dentist and the dental assistant. If a parent is present inside the treatment room, we ask them to follow the dentist's lead. But we respect your right to choose what feels comfortable for your family.

Similar to having a procedure done in a hospital or a surgical facility, if your child needs sedation or general anesthesia, we require parents to stay in the parent’s lounge, but a parent can accompany their child to the treatment room before the dental procedure starts. The parent is immediately brought back into the recovery room as soon it is safe to do so.

The first visit will consist of a relaxed review of your child’s overall dental health. We will gather your child’s dental and medical health information and allow him or her to meet the staff, tour the office, sit in a dental chair, and generally have fun while visiting.

If your child is comfortable, we will perform a comprehensive dental examination along with a discussion on proper diet, nutrition and good oral hygiene habits. Usually, a professional dental cleaning, fluoride therapy and any necessary x-rays can also be completed during this visit; however, these can also wait until a subsequent visit when your child may feel more relaxed and comfortable.

For very young children, the examination is done in the parent’s lap by a technique called “Knee-to-Knee” which can also be helpful for parents to brush their child’s teeth at home.

At Must Love Kids®, Dr. Mo and Dr. G strive to make your child’s first visit to the dentist a positive and exciting adventure, using words that are pleasant and non-frightening to your child while offering explanations in “kid-friendly” terms. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff will help you and your child feel right at home.

Children and Dental Anxiety

We often hear and talk about dentistry and how uncomfortable it is, especially for a child. The mouth is a very intimate space; the invasion of this place can be a very emotionally challenging experience for a child.

There are many unknowns for a child when coming to the dentist for the first time, including the new surroundings and unusual sounds. Even with parents close by, children can feel an increase in anxiety during a child’s first visit to the dentist.

At Must Love Kids®, the doctors and staff are highly trained to make visiting the dentist a pleasant experience, especially for your child’s first visit. A visit to Must Love Kids® dental office is a very fun, non-threatening experience; the smells are inviting, the visuals are pleasing, and the office is just fun!

Kids get rewards and exclusive gifts at the end of their appointments for encouragement and positive reinforcement of good dental habits, and all children undergoing restorative dentistry are offered nitrous oxide if needed. All procedures are explained and shown to a child beforehand using a common technique called Tell-Show-Do.

In addition, words associated with dental anxiety, such as “shot,” "needles” and “hurt” are never used. We also encourage parents to discuss dental visits in a positive light with their kids so that any fear normally associated with a dental visit is not projected on to them.

At Must Love Kids®, we pride ourselves on providing your child with a pleasant and stress-free dental experience whether it’s your child’s first visit or if you’ve been bringing your child here for years!

To help your child adjust to a new environment and aid in a positive dental experience, we have a list of suggested do’s and don’ts.


  • Bring your child a few minutes ahead of the appointment time.
  • Get your child excited to meet new friends, our dental team.
  • Share fun and exciting stories.

Bring referral form and X-rays if your child was referred by a dental office and these items were provided to you.


  • Send a family member or friend to the first appointment. We would love to meet you!
  • Tell your child “They won’t hurt you” or similar phrases.
  • Share your bad experience or negative stories.