First Dental Appointment

Your child should have their first dental appointment by their first birthday. At this age, the average child already has six teeth!  At this visit, the dental professional may only be able to do a visual exam, depending on the child’s cooperation. The earlier your child has their first visit followed by routine appointments, the better dental experience your child will have in later years. After the initial visit, your provider will recommend ongoing/regular visits. Be sure to make these visits!

Virtual Dental Visits

A virtual dental visit is a safe way to see the dentist. It can help identify tooth decay early, it is a way to get fluoride varnish to help protect teeth from cavities, and is a way to get oral health information to maintain good dental habits. Call your dental office and ask if a virtual dental visit can be scheduled.

Cavity Free San Francisco has created 4 videos to help you with your virtual dental visit. Click on the links below to watch. The videos are also available in Spanish and Chinese.

Welcome to Your Teledentistry Visit.

    • Learn how to get set-up, what to expect during the teledentistry visit, and how to position yourself and your child.

How to Take Photos of Your Child’s Teeth.

    • Watch this 2 minute video on how to take the best pictures of your child’s teeth prior to the teledentistry visit.

How to Apply Fluoride Varnish at Home.

    • Watch this 90 second video to learn what comes in a mail home varnish kit and how to properly apply the varnish to your child’s teeth with a dental team supervision.

Brushing Your Child’s Teeth.

    • Watch this 90 second video to learn how to brush your child’s teeth, the amount of fluoride toothpaste to use, and how often children need to brush their teeth.

Fluoride Varnish

At the routine six-month dental exam and on an ongoing basis thereafter, your dental provider or doctor may recommend applying fluoride varnish onto your child’s teeth. Application of the fluoride varnish is quick and painless. It involves the provider using a small brush to paint onto the tooth surfaces. Fluoride is a natural mineral, and it helps make the tooth enamel stronger, to protect against future cavities.

Care by Dental Professionals Other than a Dentist

A dental provider or dental professional is a licensed individual that can provide dental services to you.  A dental provider is not limited to a Dentist. There are many other types of dental providers. You might receive a preventive dental service from a Registered Dental Hygienist, a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice, or a Dentist.

Services provided by these professionals are also not limited to a dental clinic. You might be able to receive services in your community at a school, a nursing home or a mobile dental van. A few preventive treatments include: a dental cleaning, fluoride varnish application, placement of sealants, and placement of a temporary filling. Restorative treatments can only be provided by a Dentist in a clinical or a community setting; these treatments include: permanent cavity fillings, tooth extractions, root canal therapies, etc.

Medi-Cal has Dental Covered

If your child has Medi-Cal, they also have coverage for dental care. The Medi-Cal Dental Program covers a full range of dental services. If you have not found a dental home for your child yet, click on “More Information” below to find a Medi-Cal Dental Provider and additional resources.