Your First Visit

Welcome to Pediatric Dental Specialists of West Michigan! We can’t wait to meet your child and would like to explain what their first dental check-up will involve. Making this first appointment is the first step ensuring your child will receive great oral care that will follow them for a lifetime.


When you arrive at the office, you will find one of our friendly team members who will help you sign your child in, and navigate any paperwork that may be necessary. Please help yourself to our complimentary refreshments, including coffee and tea. There is a play area for your children, and we encourage them to explore our interactive reception area. There is a restroom in our waiting room with amenities for both children and adults. We will encourage you to bring your child to use the restroom before their appointment time. Next, you will be escorted into a private area where we will review your child’s medical and dental history. Following that, we will introduce you and your child to our treatment area where you will meet Dr. Stephanie, Dr. Katie, or Dr. Taryn.

Young children may feel more comfortable sitting with their parent or caregivers on their lap, rather than in a dental chair. If your child is not comfortable sitting in the dental chair, we will have you sit in a chair facing the doctor and place a soft cushion on your lap. This position allows young children to sit comfortably with their parent while the Doctor examines their mouth.


If you have a child aged 3 years or younger, they may be more comfortable sitting in your lap for their check-up. This is often called a “knee-to-knee” exam. Our dental assistant will help you position your child so that they are facing you, with their legs wrapped around your waist, as if they are giving you a big hug. Dr. Stephanie, Dr. Katie, or Dr. Taryn will then sit facing you with their knees against yours, so that they can gently lay your child’s head back in their lap on a soft cushion or pillow. Parents are asked to hold their child’s hands right over their tummy.

Your child’s mouth will be examined with a mirror, and if necessary, any plaque or buildup that has accumulated on the teeth will be cleaned. The teeth and gums will be brushed with a soft toothbrush, dried with a cotton gauze and topical fluoride will be applied with a soft brush if indicated. Immediately after the exam, your child will be rewarded with a prize for doing a great job!

It is important to note that the exam is sometimes quick but always thorough. Dr. Katie, Dr. Stephanie, and Dr. Taryn are able to gain valuable information from this exam. They will be evaluating the health of your child’s teeth and gums and also their growth and developmental status. Some developmental conditions in infants and young children which present themselves in the oral cavity may only be seen a dental check-up or may be first noticed by a dental provider during a dental exam. Therefore, it is important to have infants and children evaluated by a dentist when their first tooth erupts or by age 1. Our team will recommend and review dietary and hygiene instructions with you based on your child’s exam, as well as any information specific to your child’s oral health status.


Some children are relaxed and calm in this position, while others are cautious of having someone unfamiliar look into their mouth or of leaning back. It is not uncommon for a young child to wiggle or make noise during the exam and it is important for parents and caregivers to understand the exam does not hurt. Without the exam, a child’s oral health status cannot be accurately evaluated. Dr. Stephanie, Dr. Katie, and Dr. Taryn understand that minimizing the length of time your child is being examined will help them to feel safe and comfortable at each visit.