At What Age Should a Child See a Dentist?

Lurking cavities? Tooth decay? Gum disease? It’s all preventable if you invest in your child’s dental health now. 

But when’s the right time to make your child’s first dental appointment? It may be a lot sooner than you think. 

According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentists, the best time to schedule the first visit is when you see baby teeth forming (which may happen before your child’s first birthday). 

However, if your child doesn’t snack or drink in the middle of the night (and has moved from a bottle to a cup), you can wait until age two.

Here’s why setting the stage for good oral health throughout your child’s life is essential.

Why You Shouldn’t Skip The First Appointment

Tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness. 

And even though your child’s 20 baby teeth won’t form entirely until about age three, you should schedule your child’s first visit from age 1-2. This allows your dentist to inspect the development of your child’s teeth, gums, and oral tissue.

This initial visit also gets your child comfortable sitting in a dentist’s chair early on.

Plus, it’s an ideal time for you to learn how to clean those tiny mouths (which isn’t always easy) and stay on top of the best oral care products and diet tips for your child.

What Happens at The First Appointment

At your child’s first dental appointment, you’ll learn step-by-step how to clean your baby’s teeth. The hygienist will also check your baby’s mouth to look for signs of tooth decay. 

Your dentist will review your child’s full medical history, address any issues you’re facing, and give you nutritional advice on how to keep your child’s teeth healthy.  Your child’s bite will also be assessed along with any teething or thumb sucking issues. 

During this appointment, you can ask questions regarding your baby’s oral development or share any concerns you may have.

How Prevention Matters

Although it is between ages 6 and 12 when baby teeth fall out to make room for a new set of permanent teeth, staying ahead of your child’s oral hygiene is crucial.

This is because some children can benefit from dental sealing. This thin coating protects your child’s teeth from decay. 

As your child’s teeth grow, regularly visiting the dentist will also allow you to track your child’s tooth and jaw alignment. And if you end up needing any orthodontic work, you’ll be able to plan and financially prepare ahead of time.

Keep in mind that after the initial visit, it’s recommended your child see a dentist every six months. And once your child reaches ages 4-6, your dentist will take the first set of X-rays to check for cavities.

Are you ready to get your child’s tiny smile on track?

It’s important to get your child comfortable visiting the dentist early on, making future appointments easier.
If you’re interested in learning more about the services we provide and how a dentist can help ensure your child’s smile stays strong, please call our office today!