What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist

What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

Early dental care is vital to protect your child's oral health for a lifetime. Today, pediatric dentists recommend that children begin seeing the dentist by age one or six months after the first tooth eruption, whichever comes first.

Why Infants and Toddlers Need Dental Care

Parents of older children may be surprised that babies and toddlers should see the dentist at such an early age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry changed its recommendation following new research emphasizing the importance of early care.

Benefits of Early Dental Care

  • Track the child's oral development
  • Assess risk factors for tooth decay and malocclusion
  • Become comfortable with dental visits early on
  • Build a trusting, warm relationship with the dentist and their care team

Preparing For Your Appointment

Schedule your child's first appointment in the morning to ensure they are fresh and alert. This step will help your dentist work with your child positively.


For children old enough to understand, prepare them for the visit by explaining what to expect and why seeing a dentist is essential. Share the positive aspects of going to the dentist and try to keep your anxiety in check. Children can easily pick up on a parent's dental anxiety and exhibit the same behavior.


You will share your child's health history with the dentist, helping them understand anything unique about your child. Let the dentist know if your child tends to be anxious, defiant, or fearful. Pediatric dentists receive special training to work with children who have difficulty during appointments. Special-needs children may also need particular care.

The First Visit

The goal of the first dental visit is to encourage the child to feel at ease in the office. The appointment generally takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The dentist will gently check the child's oral development, including teeth, jaws, gums, dental bites, and oral tissues. Your child may also need gentle teeth cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions About Early Dental Care

How often should my child see the dentist?

Most pediatric dentists recommend seeing children twice yearly, though children at higher risk of tooth decay may need more frequent appointments.

Why do babies and toddlers need fluoride treatments?

Fluoride hardens the enamel and helps to protect against tooth decay. Early tooth decay can be a predictor of poor oral health in adulthood. Researchers found that the benefits of fluoride administration outweigh the minor risks, even for babies getting their first teeth.

Call 376 Dental Studio

At 376 Dental Studio, we prioritize your family's oral health. We want early dental care to be a positive experience for you and your child. We treat all family members and would be honored if you chose our practice as your dental home. Please call our Waltham, MA, office at 781-373-3068 to schedule your appointment today.