When Should Your Child Visit the Dentist?

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It’s hard enough to get children to brush their teeth, eat healthily, and get enough sleep. It’s even harder when it comes to dental health. In fact, dental decay is the most common disease among children. Most dentists believe oral health starts early—from birth onward—and requires regular checkups and dental care for teeth to be kept healthy. The dentist’s role in the oral health of a child starts with baby teeth cleaning and tooth brushing, through tooth decay detection and prevention, all the way to tooth extraction if necessary. With this in mind, it’s crucial for parents to educate children about oral health and encourage them to visit the dentist regularly for dental check-ups and treatment. Here’s an in-depth look at the dentist visit a child must go through when he or she first visits the dentist at an age-appropriate level.

When Do Babies Go to the Dentist?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it is recommended that babies visit the dentist by the time they are 1 year old. This is when their first tooth comes in. If a baby starts teething, they should visit the dentist within six months of their first tooth coming in. During this visit, the dentist will assess their oral health and provide knowledge on how to take care of a baby’s smile.

Even if a baby has not gotten their first tooth by their first birthday, parents should still visit the dentist. This is because dental visits help establish dental health early on and ensure that teeth develop properly. During these visits, dentists check the baby’s teeth for signs of decay or health issues and check the baby’s gums for signs of infection or bleeding. They may also recommend cleaning teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste or using dental wafers as needed.

This helps prevent cavities and other oral health problems down the line. Besides, dentists can provide guidance on how to care for a baby’s teeth in general, such as how to brush teeth gently and when to see a dentist.

These dental visits help establish healthy dental habits early on, which could prevent problems later on.

At What Age Should a Child See a Dentist?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children visit the dentist by the time they reach 1 year old. At age 7, children’s first molars erupt, which enables orthodontists to properly evaluate the front-to-back and side-to-side relationships between a child’s teeth and identify potential future dental problems. This visit allows children to begin establishing healthy tooth-cleaning habits for their entire lifetime.

Children’s first dental visit provides an opportunity for dentists to check a child’s oral health, examine teeth, examine gums, and provide a dental exam. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist no later than age 1 to establish a foundation for dental care. This visit can help children develop healthy oral habits and avoid developing dental health problems down the road.

What Happens at Your Child’s First Dental Checkup?

A first dental visit for a child may last 30 to 45 minutes and may include a full exam of the teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues. The dentist will check growth and development and may recommend X-rays depending on your child’s age. The dentist will also talk with you about teething and family dental history, as well as oral hygiene, pacifier use, feeding, and sleeping habits. At the first appointment, the dentist may also check for cavities, clean teeth, and check the baby’s gums. The dentist can offer some guidance on how to prevent dental problems in the future by discussing healthy habits such as brushing teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and using mouth rinsing after brushing.

A visit to the dentist can be a positive experience for children of all ages. You should make dental health part of your child’s routine by educating yourself about dental health and brushing your teeth regularly.

Should You Take Your Child to a Pediatric Dentist or a Family Dentist?

According to the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should visit the dentist within six months of their first tooth or birthday. Pediatric dentists have two years of advanced dental training in areas such as pediatric surgical procedures, child psychology, behavior management, and pediatric sedation dentistry. Additionally, taking your child to the dentist regularly can help ensure cavities are treated early and can avoid any complications.

If you’re unsure of which dentist is best for your child, it’s a good idea to consult with your primary care provider or a pediatric dentist regarding the appropriate dental care for your child. Either type of dentist is able to provide a thorough oral exam and dental checkup that will help keep teeth and gums healthy and tooth decay at bay.

Tips for Making Your Child’s Dental Visit Easier

You’ve probably heard dental visit tips from dental professionals, but there are some practical steps you can take to make dental visits easier for your child. Start by using positive language to explain the importance of visiting the dentist. This will help your child understand why it’s important to have their teeth checked and their teeth cleaned. Come prepared with comfort toys and distractions for the waiting room and dentist’s chair, such as stickers, books, and a favorite stuffed animal.

This will help reduce anxiety and ensure a positive experience. However, avoid messy snacks, as this could lead to oral health concerns. Instead, offer tooth-friendly snacks such as baby food or gum that can help keep teeth healthy. You can also plan a treat after the visit to reinforce positive behavior. This can be anything from a dental visit certificate to a movie or playtime at the dentist’s office.

Similarly, stay relaxed and cheerful, as your child will pick up on your stress. This will help reduce anxiety and make the visit enjoyable for both of you. Finally, it is important to schedule dental visit appointments early for young children so that they are alert and fresh for their appointment. By following these tips and making dental visits easier, you can help your child develop healthy oral habits from a young age.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should my child visit the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that children have their first dentist appointment by the time they’re 1 year old. Therefore, a child should have their first dental visit by the time they’re 1 year old and no later than 6 months after their first tooth comes in. After this first visit, dental visits should start no later than 12 months of age in order to help prevent cavities. If a child has not gotten a tooth by this age, they should still be taken to the dentist.

What are some common dental issues that children may experience?

A common dental issue that children may experience is tooth decay. Tooth decay can be caused by a variety of things, like cavities caused by bacteria-ridden baby bottles, unusual lip-sucking habits, or plaque buildup. A dentist should evaluate a child’s teeth by age 7 to determine if any dental problems exist and to develop a plan to treat them.

In addition, toothaches in infants may be indicative of dental issues that need to be addressed by an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in dental braces and other dental treatments for children.

How can I help my child feel comfortable visiting the dentist?

It is important for children to visit the dentist regularly from an early age in order to ensure that they receive excellent dental care. By taking your child to the dentist on a regular basis during their first year, you’re helping to create a dental health history for them. This will help them feel more comfortable visiting the dentist in the future and also increase their chances of being successful with dental care.

You can also help make dental visits pleasurable for your child by taking them on a tour of the office. This way, they’ll be able to get an idea of what’s going on and become more familiar with the environment. You can also talk about why it is important for your child to visit the dentist and how oral health can impact overall health. Scheduling dental appointments in the morning when children are alert and fresh is also beneficial. By having children visit the dentist on a regular basis, they’ll learn proper oral hygiene techniques and receive fluoride dental treatment.

What should I do if my child has a dental emergency?

If your child has a dental emergency, you should contact your dentist immediately. Additionally, if your child is experiencing severe pain, swelling, or bleeding, they should seek treatment from an urgent care facility or emergency room. Make sure to bring any medical history and dental records with you to the doctor or dentist. Additionally, make sure to follow all recommendations from your dentist or doctor.


When it comes to dental health, there’s no time like the present. You can help your child develop healthy teeth and gums by brushing their teeth with a toothbrush every day, showing them how to care for their teeth at home, and taking them to the dentist as soon as dental problems are detected. If you’re looking for tips on how to make dental visits easier for children, check out our blog, ‘5 Tips for Making Dental Visits Easier for Children.’

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