Children's Oral Health

When should children visit a dentist for the first time?

A Answers (5)

  • The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months after the first tooth comes in and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a "well baby checkup" for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can show you how to clean the child's teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking.  
  • The best time to have a child’s first dental check up is by age one or within six months of the eruption of the first teeth.  This is a relatively new recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association, yet many dental and pediatric health care providers are still not aware of this recommendation and or have not completed the necessary training to confidently provide this essential preventive service. We now know that the most common chronic childhood disease, dental caries, can actually be passed on from person to person and early prevention is key to helping assure every child’s most precious gift, the magic of their smile is protected through now well documented effective measures.  (See Answers to questions, why age one dental visit? for more details.)

  • A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of
    The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist before their first birthday. At the first visit, the dentist will give your child a modified exam (while you hold her in your lap) and explain how to brush and floss the correct way. Visits at this young age will get your child used to going to the dentist. This will help her be more comfortable with the idea when she is older.

    You may want to take your child to a pediatric dentist, or one who specializes in treating children. Their primary goal is to prevent problems from developing by regular exams and stressing proper daily care.
  • A answered

    Experts advise that children have their first dental appointment by the time their first tooth comes through; between 6 and 12 months of age.  Once your child starts eating anything other than breast milk any teeth are at risk for decay. Pediatric dentists are available and are experts at detecting problems early. If your child is old enough to understand, the dentist will show him or her how to brush at the first appointment, and usually will remind the child at every visit thereafter.

  • A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of
    A child should have its first oral health assessment when its first tooth emerges. 
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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