When Should a Child Start Going to the Dentist?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

The American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that children should see a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. If that seems early to you, it might be because when your parents first brought you to the dentist, you were likely a little bit older. There are some good reasons why the recommended age to start seeing a dentist has changed; here’s what you need to know.

Why Early Dental Visits Matter

Tooth decay is one of the most common pediatric health issues in the United States. Cavities are particularly common among toddlers, especially those who do not visit the dentist on a regular basis. According to studies, children who do not see a dentist by the age of 12 months are more likely to require restorative dental care and have higher dental costs than children who see a dentist early.

Dr. Jamshidi can better monitor your child’s dental health with routine dental visits. Any oral health concerns will be detected early on, before they worsen and become significant problems. In addition, these visits are important for establishing our practice as your child’s dental home. This term refers to the relationship between you, your child, and our team here at Dream Smiles. Rather than seeing dental appointments as something to be nervous about, we want your child to think of our office as a place where they feel comfortable and secure.

What Happens During a First Dental Visit

Because they view these visits through the lens of their own dental care, many parents question the need for first dental visits at the age of one. How can a one-year-old with only two teeth benefit from seeing a dentist? Cleaning their teeth couldn’t possibly take more than a minute or two!

Your child’s first visit with us isn’t like the visits you have with your dentist. Early dental visits are designed to acclimate your child to visiting our office. These appointments are also a time to discuss how to care for your child’s teeth. We certainly don’t expect a one-year-old to sit still in the dentist’s chair for an hour!

You can hold your child on your lap during their first visit while Dr. Jamshidi examines their mouth to count their teeth and look for areas of decay. If your child feels comfortable, we may perform a light cleaning to remove plaque from newly erupted teeth, but we want to make their first visit with us as pleasant as possible, so if we can’t do it the first time, we’ll try again the next. Dr. Jamshidi will conduct a head and neck exam, and order digital radiographs if there are any causes for concern. Finally, your child will receive a fluoride treatment to help strengthen their teeth and prevent decay.

Frequency of Pediatric Dental Visits

Following your child’s initial visit, they will see Dr. Jamshidi every six months for comprehensive oral evaluations and dental cleanings. These twice-a-year visits are one of the most effective tools we have for maintaining good dental health. Your child will become more comfortable with our team and understand what to expect at their appointments as they get used to the routine of visiting the dentist every six months. 

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit

If your child has never been to the dentist, contact us today at 301-327-1003 to schedule their first dental visit.