We often receive calls from first-time parents asking, “When should my child first visit a dentist?”

It might seem surprising, but the recommended age for a first dental visit is by a child’s first birthday. Teeth typically begin to appear when a child is four to seven months old. With over two percent of children getting a cavity by the age of four, some as early as two, it’s essential to begin proper dental care early.

This first visit to a pediatric dentist will inform parents of their child’s dental condition and cavity risk. There’s more to it than cavities, however.

During this first visit at age one, your dentist will discuss:

  • Oral habits (finger and thumbsucking)
  • Teething and other developmental milestones
  • How diet affects oral health
  • How to care for your child’s teeth
  • Accident prevention

Before taking your infant on his or her first visit to the dentist, you should prepare, and reading this is step one. Gather what you want to know, what you should look for, and what you should expect.

At the office, expect the usual well-baby check. A dentist or a hygienist will review your child’s history and discuss your child’s oral health from development, to habits, to risk factors and more.

During the exam, the dentist will provide you with all the information you need to know about cleaning your child’s teeth at home, and fill you in on future development and follow-up visits.

What you want for your child is a Dental Home—a place where he or she (and you) can build a relationship with the dentist in a continuously accessible way.